Book ID: CBB873649337

A Family History of Illness: Memory as Medicine (2018)


Walker, Brett L. (Author)

University of Washington Press
Publication date: 2018
Language: English

Publication Date: 2018
Physical Details: 280 pp.

While in the ICU with a near-fatal case of pneumonia, Brett Walker was asked, "Do you have a family history of illness?"―a standard and deceptively simple question that for Walker, a professional historian, took on additional meaning and spurred him to investigate his family's medical past. In this deeply personal narrative, he constructs a history of his body to understand his diagnosis with a serious immunological disorder, weaving together his dying grandfather's sneaking a cigarette in a shed on the family's Montana farm, blood fractionation experiments in Europe during World War II, and nineteenth-century cholera outbreaks that ravaged small American towns as his ancestors were making their way west.A Family History of Illness is a gritty historical memoir that examines the body's immune system and microbial composition as well as the biological and cultural origins of memory and history, offering a startling, fresh way to view the role of history in understanding our physical selves. In his own search, Walker soon realizes that this broader scope is more valuable than a strictly medical family history. He finds that family legacies shape us both physically and symbolically, forming the root of our identity and values, and he urges us to renew our interest in the past or risk misunderstanding ourselves and the world around us.

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Authors & Contributors
Almeida, Maria Antónia Pires de
Buschini, José D.
Clarke, Adele E.
Elam, Mark
Farley, Mary Hardiman
Fee, Elizabeth
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
Huntington Library Quarterly
Public Understanding of Science
Science as Culture
Cornell University Press
Duke University Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Medicine and society
Disease and diseases
Public health
Medicine and politics
Sigerist, Henry Ernest
Time Periods
20th century
Early modern
19th century
United States

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