Top Ten Social History of American Medicine Booklist

Some notes about this list:

First, why did we leave Paul Starr’s The Social Transformation of American Medicine (Basic Books, 1984) off this Top Ten list?  It is perhaps the best known American medical history book, and it is an essential reference.  Pretty much anyone who has written about the history of American medicine has cited it.  Should you read it?  Yes.  Check it out or buy it and skim the parts that interest you.  It is probably the one book on the list that most historians are aware of and that is why we left it off.  We also left off William Rothstein’s American Physicians in the Nineteenth Century:  From Sects to Science (Johns Hopkins University Press, reprint edition 1992) and Judith Walzer Leavitt’s Brought to Bed:  Child-Rearing in America, 1750-1950 (Oxford University Press, 1986) for similar reasons.

Second, we have only one book from Charles E. Rosenberg.  We could have easily picked several books from him, but we did not want his books to take up the entire list.  We picked The Cholera Years, because it is our favorite, but almost any of his other books could be on here.  

Third, these books are in no particularly order.  We don’t think number 1 is more important or better than number 10.

Finally, as is always the case, if you disagree with this list, please leave a comment explaining why we are wrong.  Suggest a book and tell us which book should be removed from the list.  If you make a strong case and convince us, we will happily revise this list.  

Conduct Unbecoming a Woman

1.  Regina Morantz-Sanchez, Conduct Unbecoming a Woman: Medicine on Trial in Turn-of-the-Century Brooklyn, Oxford University Press, 2000.

Dangerous Preganancies 

2.  Leslie Reagan, Dangerous Pregnancies: Mothers, Disabilities, and Abortion in Modern America, University of California Press, 2012.

3.  Anderson, Warwick, Colonial Pathologies:  American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines, Duke University Press, 2006.

4.  Allan Brandt, No Magic Bullet: A Social History of Venereal Disease in the United States Since 1880Oxford University Press, 1987.

 5.  Nayan Shah, Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown, University of California Press, 2001.

6.  Martin Pernick,  A Calculus of Suffering: Pain, Professionalism and Anesthesia in Nineteenth-Century America, Columbia University, 1987.

Dead on Arrival

7.  Colin Gordon,  Dead on Arrival: The Politics of Health Care in Twentieth-Century AmericaPrinceton: Princeton University Press, 2004.

8.  Charles E. Rosenberg, The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Abortion in America

9.  Mohr, James,   Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of a National PolicyNew York: Oxford University Press, 1979.

10.  Alexandra Stern, Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern AmericaUniversity of California Press, 2005.

Check out the Bookshelf at Powell’s Books.

Top Ten History of Sex Books (American Version)

These are our Top Ten History of Sex books (American Version).  As per usual, we included some caveats and and explanations for our selections. 

First, this is a history of sex / history of sexuality list. We understand that there is a distinction but, for us, these two things blur together.  Unlike other people, we do not see them as entirely separate areas of inquiry. Whatever. They clearly overlap, and we’re not interested in trying to separate them for the purposes of our booklist (American Version). 

Second, the so-obvious-they-don’t-need-a-place-on-the-list titles: Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality Volume I and John D’Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman’s Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America.  Foucault’s book arguable does not belong on an American history of sex booklist, but his book is still the goliath in the field and we need to acknowledge it.  Basically, when people think  American sexual history they think of Intimate Matters.  Since you are already thinking of them, we are leaving them off. 

Third, as per usual these books are not in any particular order.

Finally, if you do not like our list, please make some suggestions.  If we like your ideas, we will create a version 2.0 History of Sex booklist (American Version). 

Straight State

1.  Margot Canaday, The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America (Princeton University Press, 2011).

Gay New York

2.  George Chauncey, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World (Basic Books, 1995)

3.  Carol Groneman, Nymphomania: A History (W.W. Norton & Company, 2001)

Prescription for Heterosexuality

4.  Carolyn Herbst-Lewis, Prescription for Heterosexuality: Sexual Citizenship in the Cold War Era (UNC Press, 2013)

5.  Martha Hodes, White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century South (Yale University Press, 1999)

6.  Janice Irvine, Disorders of Desire: Sex and Gender in Modern American Sexology (Temple University Press, 2005)

Revolutionary conceptions

7.  Susan E. Klepp, Revolutionary Conceptions: Women, Fertility, and Family Limitation in America, 1760-1820 (UNC Press, 2009) 

8.  Mary Odem, Delinquent Daughters: Protecting and Policing Adolescent Female Sexuality in the United States, 1885-1920 (UNC Press, 1995)

Bachelors and Bunnies

9.  Carrie Pitzulo, Bachelors and Bunnies: The Sexual Politics of Playboy (University of Chicago Press, 2011)

10.  Jennifer Terry, An American Obsession: Science, Medicine, and Homosexuality in Modern Society (University of Chicago, 1999)

Check out the Bookshelf at Powell’s Books.