The Apothecary's Wife

The Hidden History of Medicine and How it Became a Commodity

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Pub Date 7 Nov 2024 | Archive Date 7 Nov 2024
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Description

The unknown legacy of the Scientific Revolution, and how it affected our medical care for the worse.

The running joke in Europe for centuries was that anyone in a hurry to die should call the doctor. As far back as ancient Greece, physicians were notorious for administering painful and often fatal treatments – and charging for the privilege. For the most effective treatment, the ill and injured went to the women in their lives. This system lasted hundreds of years. It was gone in less than a century.

Contrary to the familiar story, medication did not improve during the Scientific Revolution. Yet somehow, between 1650 and 1740, the domestic female and the physician switched places in the cultural consciousness: she became the ineffective, potentially dangerous quack, he the knowledgeable, trustworthy expert. The professionals normalized the idea of paying them for what people already got at home without charge, laying the foundation for Big Pharma and today’s global for-profit medication system.

A revelatory history of medicine, The Apothecary’s Wife challenges the myths of the triumph of science and instead uncovers the fascinating truth. Drawing on a vast body of archival material, Karen Bloom Gevirtz depicts the extraordinary cast of characters who brought about this transformation. She also explores domestic medicine’s values in responses to modern health crises, such as the eradication of smallpox, and what benefits we can learn from these events.

The unknown legacy of the Scientific Revolution, and how it affected our medical care for the worse.

The running joke in Europe for centuries was that anyone in a hurry to die should call the doctor...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781803286990
PRICE £25.00 (GBP)
PAGES 352

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