Circumcision: A History Of The World's Most Controversial Surgery

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9780465026531: Circumcision: A History Of The World's Most Controversial Surgery

How has a medical practice that carries substantial risk to the patient and offers very little actual benefit become so widely accepted by parents and fiercely advocated by the medical community? Historian of medicine David Gollaher tells the strange history of medicine's oldest enigma and most persistent ritual in Circumcision. From the extraordinarily painful initiation rite of the ancient Egyptians, through the Hebrew purification ritual, through circumcision's use by the rising medical community in the nineteenth century as prevention for ailments ranging from bedwetting to paralysis, the great mystery has been the persistence of the practice through vastly different social contexts.

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More than a million infant boys are circumcised every year in America, the highest occurrence of this procedure in the world. Why? Out of sheer cultural habit, concludes David Gollaher in his groundbreaking study, Circumcision. The tremendous momentum behind Gollaher's account is generated by one simple question: what is known about this most common of procedures? Alarmingly, precious little. Gollaher remedies that problem by tracing the historical roots of circumcision as a rite of passage into manhood in various ancient cultures before bringing the reader to 19th-century America, when circumcision rates skyrocketed through endorsements by the nascent American medical profession, which credited circumcision with exaggerated health benefits. Circumcision would eventually turn into a mark of class distinction, and the surgery would become entrenched in modern medical practices, despite scant study of its benefits, dangers, or side effects. Gollaher is to be commended for maintaining an even perspective on a practice that is sure to become increasingly controversial; he allows the research itself to fascinate and illuminate. As expected, there are many unsettling graphic descriptions in this book, but its most horrifying revelation is its most casual: the incontrovertible fact that circumcision remains the least understood--yet most widely practiced--surgery in the United States. --Sumi Hahn Almquist

About the Author:

Dr. Gollaher is President and CEO of the California Healthcare Institute and the author of Voice for the Mad: The Life of Dorothea Dix. He lives in San Diego, California.

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Book Description Basic Books (AZ). Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 272 pages. Dimensions: 8.9in. x 6.0in. x 0.9in.How has a medical practice that carries substantial risk to the patient and offers very little actual benefit become so widely accepted by parents and fiercely advocated by the medical community Historian of medicine David Gollaher tells the strange history of medicines oldest enigma and most persistent ritual in Circumcision. From the extraordinarily painful initiation rite of the ancient Egyptians, through the Hebrew purification ritual, through circumcisions use by the rising medical community in the nineteenth century as prevention for ailments ranging from bedwetting to paralysis, the great mystery has been the persistence of the practice through vastly different social contexts. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780465026531

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