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David M. Oshinsky

Forfatter af Polio: An American Story

10+ Works 1,673 Members 41 Reviews

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He is also an associate editor of the American National Biography. Oshinsky writes about the brutality of penitentiary life in his book, Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice. He earned a Senior Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and an vis mere appointment as Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Texas, Austin for his work on the penitentiary project. Oshinsky also received the 17th Annual Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for his novel. (Bowker Author Biography) vis mindre
Image credit: Courtesy of Columbia University.

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MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History — Spring 2020 (2020) — Author "War Stories: The Tail Gunner" — 1 eksemplar

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Mention the word "Bellevue" and most Americans think of a derelict, frightening mental asylum, made notorious by Nellie Bly's exposé in 1887. In truth, Bellevue Hospital's history is long and often revolutionary. In this history, David Oshinsky weaves together the history of a hospital, a city, and medicine itself.

Bellevue Hospital began as an almshouse infirmary in the 1790s. From the very beginning, it never turned away patients, no matter their ability to pay, their religion, or ethnicity (a very unusual stance for the time). Soon it became a dumping ground where other hospitals sent their incurables so as to maintain high cure rates. Whenever epidemics swept through NYC, Bellevue took the brunt of it. Because of the large number of immigrants passing through its doors, Bellevue treated a wide variety of disease and illness, and soon doctors were eager to do a stint at Bellevue in order to gain experience. As apprenticeship gave way to medical schools, Bellevue teamed up with New York University, Columbia, and Cornell to become a premier teaching hospital. Despite its reputation as the hospital for the poor, it's emergency and trauma centers became first-class and if celebrities or visiting dignitaries had a medical emergency, they often chose to go to Bellevue.

Bellevue was often on the cutting edge of medical research and practice as well. The first American civilian ambulance service began here, medical photography was developed, and in 1956 two of its physicians won the Nobel Prize for their groundbreaking work in cardiac catherization. The first doctor to reach Lincoln in Ford's theatre was a Bellevue physician as was the doctor in charge of President Garfield's gunshot wound (unfortunately that doctor was not a subscriber to germ theory and probably unwittingly abetted his death). In the 1980s, Bellevue was at the forefront of the AIDS epidemic, both in terms of research and treatment. Although there was never enough funding for a hospital of its size and mandate to treat the indigent, Bellevue achieved remarkable things.

Oshinsky doesn't shy away from the dark side of Bellevue either, such as the murder in 1989 of a pregnant doctor in her office by a squatter, or the use of electric shock therapy on children, but he does put these events into perspective.

I enjoyed reading Bellevue and learned a lot about the history of NYC and of American medicine, as well as of this storied hospital. Oshinsky has a knack for describing the personalities and quirks of those who impacted Bellevue, from politicians at Tammany Hall to the doctors and nurses who worked on the wards to the researchers in its famous pathology labs and morgue. A fantastic piece of narrative nonfiction, I would recommend it to anyone interested in NYC and/or medicine.
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labfs39 | 17 andre anmeldelser | Nov 5, 2023 |
A simply told and simply devastating account of life for African Americans in Reconstruction and Jim Crow-era Mississippi, and of the state's penal labor practices in particular. The depth of hatred and violence of Southern racism never ceases to stun me. When it comes to things like black people being rounded up as vagrants to be sent off to malarial swamps to labor and die in their hundreds, you have to accept that in some ways the racial oppression in the South, even after slavery was abolished(!), approached the Holocaust for horror.… (mere)
 
Markeret
fji65hj7 | 5 andre anmeldelser | May 14, 2023 |
This is a wonderfully organized (even though is presented chronologically) and colorful history of one of our flagship Hospitals in American history. Bellevue's history is told within the context of immigration, healthcare science, and the politics of New York. It is extremely well researched but is easily read with most explanations included in the text rather than as footnotes (there are notes added, but the text is clear enough to allow one to actually read the book rather than always flipping back to the notes pages). The book begins with New York as a "wilderness" and moves forward to include Bellevue's response to 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy.
Anyone who enjoys reading non-fiction will appreciate this book.
… (mere)
 
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Kimberlyhi | 17 andre anmeldelser | Apr 15, 2023 |
Only read 1st 100 pages. Yes, it has good anecdotes and is helpful with some narrative elements, but I just don't want to be told the author's viewpoint every sentence. The smarmy Joe then called this person. He said this, but he was probably lying … just throughout. I am moving on to other Eisenhower / Truman era accounts hopefully just telling the events and letting the story speak for itself.
 
Markeret
apende | Jul 12, 2022 |

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