Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Midwife's Tale

From PBS Web Site: "An innovative dramatic film based on the story of Martha Ballard, a midwife and mother living in the wilds of Maine during the chaotic decades following the American Revolution. In a sparsely written diary, Ballard recorded her daily struggle against poverty, disease, domestic abuse and social turmoil. Two hundred years later, her world is painstakingly recreated by a historian seeking to understand eighteenth century America through a woman's eyes." More Details. M. Ballard Wiki.

The docudrama is a dramatization of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's Pulitzer Prize winning book: "A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812"
From Library Journal: This book is a model of social history at its best. An exegesis of Ballard's diary, it recounts the life and times of this obscure Maine housewife and midwife. Using passages from the diary as a starting point for each chapter division, Ulrich, a professor at the University of New Hampshire, demonstrates how the seemingly trivial details of Ballard's daily life reflect and relate to prominent themes in the history of the early republic: the role of women in the economic life of the community, the nature of marriage and sexual relations, the scope of medical knowledge and practice. Speculating on why Ballard kept the diary as well as why her family saved it, Ulrich highlights the document's usefulness for historians.
Many copies are available on ABE Books or can be purchased from Amazon.

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