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Venereal Disease, Hospitals and the Urban Poor: London's "Foul Wards," 1600-1800 (Rochester Studies in Medical History) Paperback – 1 Oct 2010

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This is a masterly study, based on meticulous archival research, which...provides an illuminating spotlight on many aspects of early modern urban life. The rich and detailed story Siena tells will be of interest to a wide range of historians... It significantly expands and nuances our hitherto over-simplistic picture of the extent of, and provisions for the treatment of, venereal disease in the metropolis. -- Lesley A. Hall, Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine, London Venereal Disease, Hospitals and the Urban Poor is a solid piece of research. Siena has clearly combed a range of archives, and he draws on institutional accounts, court records, medical journals, advertisements, and patient records to make a convincing case that the early modern period was a pivotal one in the treatment of venereal disease. --JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF SEXUALITY (Alexandra M. Lord) This is a well-researched, compelling book on a grim topic with some contemporary overtones. --CHOICE Siena has delved into old sources in new ways, producing not only a superbly refined view of the care offered to the venereally diseased poor throughout early modern England, but also a model for future historical efforts directed towards a better understanding of the care sought for and received by this often overlooked, foundational segment of London society. --AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW It is a pleasure to read a book so deeply grounded in archival work; Siena's extensive research offers new perspectives on health care in early modern England. First, he dispels any lingering ideas about the happy, unrepressed, pre-Victorian days of jolly sexuality in which venereal disease was just a minor inconvenience. . . . Second, like other scholars, he shows poor patients to be resourceful players in a jerry-built system that met their needs imperfectly at best. As always, ideas about morality and gender shaped health care for the poor, and especially for the poor with venereal diseases. --JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF MEDICINE, 2006 Siena's ambitions here extend to the attempt to recover patients' own experience of illness and healthcare; and he has succeeded to a remarkable extent in conveying the desperate human costs of the 'foul disease'. This is a book then that is marked not only by erudition and sound scholarship but also by humanity and empathy. It is a major achievement. --JOURNAL OF SOCIAL HISTORY (Philip Howell)


A comprehensive and very detailed study [that] presents a richly nuanced understanding of early modern approaches to the pox. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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