As I mentioned in one of my status updates for this book, I found The Healer's Calling to be of interest because it featured several of the women in my family. It was so insightful to me to learn more about their lives, their society, and their belief systems. It was also thrilling to see some of the medicinal recipes that these ladies wrote down and used when the need arose. Rebecca Tannenbaum
made my ancestors seem more like three dimensional people, and she made me realize that these women were more than pious shrinking violets. They were real forces and real contributors to their families and to the societies in which they lived.
I think this book would be quite interesting to female physicians, nurses, and midwives, and historians may find it interesting too, especially women's studies historians. I don't know, though, that this book was really written with a layperson in mind. It's a little scholarly in nature (but not too bad), and it's often repetitious in some of the concepts it's trying to convey. I don't think that the repetition is always a *bad* thing, though, because we have often been taught a very specific notion of who the Puritans and colonials were, and they have been held up as ideal representations of virtue, bravery, and chastity. The repetition in this book drives home that these people were just as subject to the same temptations, rivalries, personal and social problems, and moral dilemmas that we are subject to today, and they had to address these issues within specific boundaries and with limited resources and limited scientific knowledge. It was good to read that.
As I read The Healer's Calling I found myself reflecting that if more high school history courses used texts like this to teach history, more kids would find the subject to be more interesting, and more relatable to their lives today. And we'd probably get a more realistic and less romanticized version of who our forefathers (and foremothers) really were.