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A Traffic of Dead Bodies: Anatomy and Embodied Social Identity in Nineteenth-Century America Hardcover – 23 Dec 2001

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (23 Dec. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069105925X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691059259
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.3 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,001,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"A groundbreaking new book. . . . One of Sappol's great accomplishments in this dazzling book is his creation of a new lens to view . . . well-known--and some lesser-known--episodes [in medical history]. . . . With considerable verve and penetration, he explores orthodox anatomy in American medical education. . . . Sappol reminds us that we continue to pursue the construction and negotiation of the boundaries of our bodies and our selves. . . . We can understand this process better in the light of Sappol's extraordinary evocation of 19th-century anatomy and American culture."--Susan E. Lederer, New England Journal of Medicine

"A powerful and thought-provoking interpretation that enriches our understanding of 19th-century society not simply in America but across the West."--Anne Hardy, Times Higher Education Supplement

"[The] achievement of this book [is its] laying out the importance, scope, structure, and sloughs of the anatomical metropolis in which American medicine developed."--Phillip J. Pauly, Journal of the American Medical Association

"A Traffic of Dead Bodies offers surprising new insights for both medical and cultural historians. It combines an innovative account of anatomy in American medicine with an unprecedented exploration of the dissected body in American culture, from common schools to pulp fiction and Bowery wax museums."--Martin S. Pernick, Journal of the History of Medicine

"A Traffic of Dead Bodies is a major achievement. It is an empirically rich and creatively theorized book that resists easy classification."--Thomas R. Cole, Journal of American History

"In his well-crafted and superbly researched book, Sappol takes us on a fascinating and morbid journey through the powerful and expansive world of anatomical medicine, foregrounding its centrality to the making of modernity. . . . It is an impressive and engaging work of cultural history that greatly enhances our understanding of society and medicine in America's long nineteenth century."--Alexandra Minna Stern, The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

From the Back Cover

"This is a wonderful book--original, ambitious, fascinating, detailed--offering an important new approach to the history of scientific medicine as based on anatomical knowledge and a richly textured argument about the centrality of the anatomical body to the bourgeois American sense-of-oneself."--Elizabeth Fee, author of Disease and Discovery and Making Medical History

"This marvelous book exhibits the kind of intelligence and conceptual innovation that should attract a wide range of readers. Creative, cleverly written, and finely argued. Sappol's very smart cultural history of anatomy as both activity and ideology sketches an illuminating picture of nineteenth-century American aspiration and self-understanding."--Regina Morantz-Sanchez, University of Michigan

"This is a well-crafted, extensively researched, fascinating study of the cultural politics of anatomy in nineteenth-century America. It explores an impressive range of cultural expressions, pulling together a disparate array of phenomena that no one has linked before. This book will be of great value to cultural and social historians as well as to historians of medicine."--Karen Halttunen, University of California, Davis

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ON A SUMMER DAY in 1818, the villagers of Ipswich, Massachusetts gathered together. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A traffic of Dead Bodies is an interesting and insightful work to a period that went to rapid changes and developed an understanding of culture, gender and the way in which medicine is viewed today.

For those who are interested in the development of medicine and the role in which doctors play today, will find this piece of work extremely useful.
With an extraordinary basis of primary sources to back him up, Sappol has managed to create a history book that entertains as well as educates.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
A Very Good and Comprehensive Study of Anatomy in the 19th Century 11 Aug. 2013
By Lionel S. Taylor - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this book Sappol examines the practice of anatomy and its place in the developing medical profession in 19th century America. The book goes on to explore the deeper cultural significance of what anatomy meant to the profession as well as its social implications when it came to procuring bodies for anatomy classes. The issue of the impact of anatomy on self fashioning of identity as well as its uses for social and moral education of young people are also explored. The chapter on Edward Foote's Sammy Tubbs children's anatomy books was especially interesting and is a good illustration of both 19th century social mores and social attitudes. The second-to-last chapter on the anatomy museums contrasts and put into opposition the lofty claims of the medical profession and its use as popular entertainment.
In his conclusion Sappol states that anatomy was invested with a variety of meanings and that not all of these meanings were intended. In its efforts to popularize anatomy in order to gain legitimacy and authority for itself, the medical profession opened it up for the appropriation of others from enterprising businessmen to social scientist reformers and of course politicians all seeking to use it for their own ends. In many ways this is similar to the way medical knowledge is used to this day. This is a very good book on the place of anatomy in the medical profession and society at large.
Great book, bad binding 16 May 2013
By Nikki - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is incredibly well researched and written. My only complaint is the binding, pages fell out several times during the first reading!
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