Out of Joint: A Private and Public Story of Arthritis (American Lives)

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9780803220300: Out of Joint: A Private and Public Story of Arthritis (American Lives)
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She begins, in the morning, by casing her joints: Can her ankles take the stairs? Will her fingers open a jar? Peel an orange? But it was not always this way for Mary Felstiner, who went to bed one night an active professional and healthy young mother, and woke the next morning literally out of joint. With wrists and elbows no longer working right, she’d discovered one of the first signs of rheumatoid arthritis, the most virulent form of a common disease. Out of Joint is her account of living through arthritis, a distinction she shares with seventy million Americans. While arthritis pain affects one out of three Americans, this book is the first to tell the personal story of the nation’s most common yet neglected disease. Part memoir, part medical and social history, Out of Joint folds the author’s private experience into far-reaching investigations of a socially hidden ailment and of any chronic condition—how to handle love, work, sexuality, fatigue, betrayal, pain, time, mortality, rights, myths, and memory. Moving from the 1940s to the present, this story of one life with arthritis exposes little-known medical research and provocative social issues: alarming controversies over arthritis miracle drugs, intense demands concerning disability, and the surprising and disproportionate number of women affected by chronic illness. From this prize-winning historian comes a call for healing through history, a moving meditation on the way chronic conditions can be treated by enlisting the past.

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About the Author:

Mary Felstiner is a professor of history at San Francisco State University and the author of To Paint Her Life: Charlotte Salomon in the Nazi Era.

Review:

"In her brilliant, poetic memoir Mary Felstiner blends her personal story with the larger and often hidden story of millions of Americans who suffer chronic pain and arthritic disabilities. A major achievement and a great read."--Gerda Lerner, author of The Creation of Patriarchy, Why History Matters, and Fireweed "A startling, poignant depiction of the progression of arthritis and of the person who is afflicted. Written from the heart with great lucidity and power, this book will alter forever the way you think about chronic illness."--Irvin Yalom, MD, author of The Schopenhauer Cure: A Novel "Has there ever been a disease that is so widespread, about which there has previously been so little thoughtful writing? Mary Felstiner has created a landmark in the literature, as Susan Sontag did with her book about cancer."--Adam Hochschild, prize-winning author of Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves "Although this memoir is a mediation on illness, pain, suffering, loss, history and mortality, it does all these things charmingly and effortlessly. It is a quirky, brave, heartening book that is easy to curl up at night with, yet cannot be forgotten in the morning."--Melanie Thernstrom, author of The Dead Girl "Out of Joint remins us how the words we use as health professionals can have a profound negative effect on the recipient's appraisal of the stiuation... THis book is inspiring and easy to read."--Nursing Standard, November 1, 2006

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9780803260290: Out of Joint: A Private and Public Story of Arthritis (American Lives)

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ISBN 10:  0803260296 ISBN 13:  9780803260290
Publisher: Bison Books, 2007
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Felstiner, Mary Lowenthal
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Felstiner, Mary.
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Book Description University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London, 2005. Hardcover. Condition: New. American Lives Series.. 222 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. New book. HEALTH. She begins, in the morning, by casing her joints: Can her ankles take the stairs? Will her fingers open a jar? Peel an orange? But it was not always this way for Mary Felstiner, who went to bed one night an active professional and healthy young mother, and woke the next morning literally out of joint. With wrists and elbows no longer working right, she'd discovered one of the first signs of rheumatoid arthritis, the most virulent form of a common disease. Out of Joint is her account of living through arthritis, a distinction she shares with seventy million Americans. While arthritis pain affects one out of three Americans, this book is the first to tell the personal story of the nation's most common yet neglected disease. Part memoir, part medical and social history, Out of Joint folds the author's private experience into far-reaching investigations of a socially hidden ailment and of any chronic conditionÑhow to handle love, work, sexuality, fatigue, betrayal, pain, time, mortality, rights, myths, and memory. Moving from the 1940s to the present, this story of one life with arthritis exposes little-known medical research and provocative social issues: alarming controversies over arthritis miracle drugs, intense demands concerning disability, and the surprising and disproportionate number of women affected by chronic illness. From this prize-winning historian comes a call for healing through history, a moving meditation on the way chronic conditions can be treated by enlisting the past. Mary Felstiner is a professor of history at San Francisco State University and the author of To Paint Her Life: Charlotte Salomon in the Nazi Era. "Out of Joint reminds us that the words we use as health professionals can have a profound negative effect on the recipient's appraisal of the situation. . . . . This book is inspiring and easy to read." ÑSarah Ryan, Nursing Standard "Felstiner brings a feminist's eye and a historian's tool kit to this narrative of her decades-long struggle with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a crippling autoimmune disease that afflicts more than two million Americans. . . . The book's total effect is powerful, and her major chords strike true: RA is a devastatingly disabling condition with steep private and public costs; its disproportionate effects on women have not been adequately addressed; its social, political, and interpersonal implications are significant. In the end, Felstiner's story is as much about the complexities of belongingÑas a woman, a feminist, a Jew, an intellectualÑas it is about her illness. So it has something to discover for any reader, pained joints or otherwise."ÑPublishers Weekly "Felstiner proves not only an able historian but a powerful memoirist, deftly combining the private and the public. . . . Particularly compelling are her vivid accounts of how it actually feels to be her: not only the pain that can stop her from doing simple tasks or her problems with side effects of medications, but the tensions chronic illness can create in a marriage and the anxious fears that can flood the mind. . . . If chronicles of triumph over illness may be too upbeat a model for afflictions that worsen over time, Felstiner proves there is something to be gained from any experience, and something more to be gained from examining and writing about it."ÑMerle Rubin, Los Angeles Times "Our species likes to make sense of things, to find a story to explain even sickness, even storms. In Out of Joint: A Private & Public Story of Arthritis, history professor Mary Felstiner looks for her story within the larger story of her disease. Like many people visited by illness, Felstiner, diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at age 28, wants to know why. In this artful and intelligent book, she examines this question from many angles Ñpersonal, medical historical. . . . Her candor and her research, as well as her sharp and graceful writing style, make Out. book. Seller Inventory # 66190X1

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