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Publisher's Summary

Drawing on the diaries of one woman in 18th-century Maine, this intimate history illuminates the medical practices, household economies, religious rivalries, and sexual mores of the New England frontier.

Between 1785 and 1812, a midwife and healer named Martha Ballard kept a diary that recorded her arduous work (in 27 years she attended 816 births) as well as her domestic life in Hallowell, Maine. On the basis of that diary, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich gives us an intimate and densely imagined portrait, not only of the industrious and reticent Martha Ballard but of her society. At once lively and impeccably scholarly, A Midwife's Tale is a triumph of history on a human scale.

©1990 Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A truly talented historian unravels the fascinating life of a community that is so foreign, and yet so similar to our own." ( New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

drew me in

It was slow going at first, but grabbed me a couple chapters in and didn't let go. Great narration, fascinating history, and I absolutely fell in love with Martha. Will probably listen again in a couple years.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

slow story

very slow story line, I didn't get past chapter two. This was not for me and I love mother baby.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful and Surprising

A revealing and intimate look at the past that gets away from the back rooms and battlefields of most works of history.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Sherry
  • Washington, DC, USA
  • 04-03-17

Dissertation

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

This book appears to be the writer's dissertation. It is slow and boring. I wish I could have returned it.

Has A Midwife’s Tale turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

What didn’t you like about Susan Ericksen’s performance?

I actually don't enjoy her voice at all.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful