The Surprising History of How We Are Born
By Tina Cassidy
Atlantic Monthly Press, Hardcover, 9780871139382, 320pp.
Publication Date: October 1, 2006
From evolution to the epidural and beyond, Tina Cassidy presents a lively, enlightening, and impeccably researched cultural history of how and why we are born the way we are. Women have been giving birth for millennia, so why is it that every cultureand every generationseems to have its own ideas about the best way to get a baby born? Among the topics that Tina Cassidy looks at are: why birth can be so difficult (blame our ability to walk on two legs, for instance), where women deliver, how the perception of midwives has changed (they were once burned as witches), the lives of some famous obstetricians, and the many ways childbirth has been deadly (lots of blame to go around). Birth is full of quirky details, startling facts, and tales both humorous and disturbingfrom men disguised as women to get into delivery rooms to a news flash about a woman giving herself a C-section. From Jessica Mitford’s seminal The American Way of Death to Mary Roach’s Stiff, we’ve witnessed how millions of readers are fascinated by what happens at the end of life. Here is the riveting true story of how it begins.