Category: Reviews

Hannah Gadbsy and the Comedy of the History Lecture

She had me at Douglas’ Pouch. The Mary Toft reference was just a bonus. I went to Hannah Gadsby’s stand up show Douglas expecting searing critique of the patriarchy, sharp commentary on trauma and sexism, a fresh perspective on gender and sexuality non-conformity, and the kind of cathartic laughter that makes everything possible. I didn’t expect… Read more →

Exhibition Review: Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis

One hundred years after the 1918 flu epidemic, Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis opened at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY). The exhibition, which ran through April 2019 in association with the New York Academy of Medicine, asked visitors to consider the complex relationship between New Yorkers and pathogenic microorganisms, both… Read more →

The Absence of Presence: Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

This is a book that might leave most readers frustrated about the state of things. It’s also a book that I wish didn’t need to be written but was glad I came across. Caroline Criado Perez patiently demonstrates that collecting data mostly on men and applying those findings to people in general might be erasing… Read more →

Complicating the Canon of the First World War: A Review of Ellen La Motte’s Backwash of War, edited by Cynthia Wachtell

Think back on any syllabi of the First World War and the literature represented in it. For me, those titles included Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, and Frederick Manning’s The Middle Parts of Fortune, or poets like Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, and Laurence Binyon. Indeed,… Read more →

From Hospital to Home: Wendy Kline’s Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth

Wendy Kline has delivered a new addition to the history of childbirth in America. In her engaging and well-researched book, Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth, Kline presents a new and necessary chapter in the story of the medicalization of childbirth in the United States: the history of the home birth movement. Kline has a… Read more →

An Excellent Adventure through Real Queer America

Newsflash: Red-state America is crawling with queer people. Those polite kids handing over your order at the Interstate exit drive-thru window? Queer. People peeing in the same bathroom as you at a gargantuan Buc-ee’s in Texas? Queer. Baking cookies at the youth and family center in the old Victorian house across the street from the… Read more →

What Does Gender Have to Do with the Desert?

Overheard in Grand Junction, Colorado on February 4, 2019 after Amy Irvine’s reading from her book, Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness. Amy Irvine’s Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness is a monologue written as if Irvine spoke directly to the deceased writer Edward Abbey at his gravesite. For those who… Read more →

Her Own Hero: How Self-Defense Became Acceptable for American Women

I was a seventeen-year-old college freshman when I realized I was being stalked. It started when a 27-year-old graduate student, whom I did not know, began showing up wherever I was on campus. Then he started following me off-campus. After I filed multiple reports with campus police, the Dean of Students summoned me for a… Read more →

Historian Witches and Scientist Vampires: Can We Be Deborah Harkness When We Grow Up?

Historian-witches, vampire-scientists, and a world where you can get a tenure-track job at an Ivy and fancy fellowships at Oxford just because you work hard and have great hair? You guessed it: we’re talking A Discovery of Witches. Please excuse our numerous exclamation points! A Discovery of Witches is the first book in Deb Harkness’s… Read more →

Understanding Trauma in the Civil War South: A Conversation with Diane Miller Sommerville

As I’ve written about for Nursing Clio previously, there’s been much debate in recent years about so-called ‘dark’ Civil War history. In that debate, Diane Miller Sommerville has been a vocal advocate for increased attention to the physical and psychological trauma wrought by the war. Her new book, An Aberration of Mind: Suicide and Suffering… Read more →