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Summary

'We are taught that medicine is the art of solving our body's mysteries. And as a science, we expect medicine to uphold the principles of evidence and impartiality. We want our doctors to listen to us and care for us as people, but we also need their assessments of our pain and fevers, aches and exhaustion to be free of any prejudice about who we are, our gender, or the colour of our skin. But medicine carries the burden of its own troubling history. The history of medicine, of illness, is a history of people, of their bodies and their lives, not just physicians, surgeons, clinicians and researchers. And medical progress has always reflected the realities of a changing world, and the meanings of being human.'

In Unwell Women Elinor Cleghorn unpacks the roots of the perpetual misunderstanding, mystification and misdiagnosis of women's bodies, and traces the journey from the 'wandering womb' of ancient Greece, the rise of witch trials in Medieval Europe, through the dawn of Hysteria, to modern day understandings of autoimmune diseases, the menopause and conditions like endometriosis. Packed with character studies of women who have suffered, challenged and rewritten medical orthodoxy - and drawing on her own experience of un-diagnosed Lupus disease - this is a ground-breaking and timely exposé of the medical world and woman's place within it.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Elinor Cleghorn (P)2021 Orion Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"Seamlessly melding scholarship with passion, Unwell Women is the definition of unputdownable." (Telegraph)

"A richly detailed, wide-ranging and enraging history.... Unwell Women is not just a compelling investigation, but an essential one." (Observer

"A passionate and indignant history." (The Times

"A searing, brilliant investigation, an intricate and urgent book on how women's health has constantly been misunderstood and miscast throughout history." (Kate Williams) 

"One of the most important books of our generation." (Fern Riddell) 

"UNWELL WOMEN is a powerful and fascinating book that takes an unsparing look at how women's bodies have been misunderstood and misdiagnosed for centuries." (Lindsey Fitzharris) 

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Disappointed

I was really looking forward to a study of how women are disadvantaged and discriminated against by the old fashioned and patriarchal application of medicine; it’s a very important matter. The author refers to “medical sexism” but then mentions “gender identity”. A woman’s biology is not a gender identity, it’s her sex, and it undermines all of the author’s arguments when this is not made clear