Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriquenas

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9780896086449: Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriquenas
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Full of medical folklore and healing tales, Remedios presents the history of the many women—and cultures—who have met at the crossroads of the islands of Puerto Rico. Beginning with the First Mother in sub-Saharan Africa more than 200,000 years ago, Aurora Levins Morales takes readers on a journey through time and around the globe.

We learn of Juana de Asbaje, author of the "Reply to Sor Filotea" in 1693, the first feminist essay written in the New World; Gracia Nasi, Constantinople's "Queen of the Jews"; the African-American activist and warrior of words Ida B. Wells; and the unlikely martyr and symbol, Ethel Rosenberg.

Levins Morales weaves in her own story of pain and healing, ameliorated by the restorative power of memory, and bears witness to a larger history of resistance and abuse by women and men.

This historical memoir revives our connection to the forgotten lore of our grandmothers, featuring explanations of the medicinal properties of herbs and and foods such as rosemary, ginkgo, and banana. With love, joy, and defiance, Levins Morales offers Remedios as testimony to those barely recorded or known to history, the women who shaped our world.

Aurora Levins Morales is author of Medicine Stories: History, Culture, and the Politics of Integrity (South End Press, 1998) and Getting Home Alive (Firebrand, 1986). A Jewish "red diaper baby" from the mountains of Puerto Rico, Morales writes lucidly about the complexities of social identity. She teaches at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

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About the Author:

Aurora Levins Morales is author of Getting Home Alive (Firebrand, 1986) and Medicine Stories: History, Culture, and the Politics of Integrity (South End Press, 1998). A Jewish "red diaper baby" from the mountains of Puerto Rico, Morales writes lucidly about the complexities of social identity. She teaches at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A confusing array of snapshots of women from the history of the Western hemisphere. Morales (who has taught Jewish studies and women - s studies at the Univ. of Calif., Berkeley) wants to make the point that Puerto Rican women descend from many diverse cultures, and so she rightly includes stories here from West Africa, various parts of Mexico, and even Native American tribes, as well as Spain. But some of the inclusions really stretch the imagination (Ethel Rosenberg as an ancestress of Puerto Rican women?). Also, Morales includes very little about contemporary Puerto Rican women themselves, except to tell us in the introduction that they ``have always held up four-fifths of the sky.'' The entire book is a chronological leap through 200,000 years of cross-cultural women - s history. It is imaginatively organized, however, beginning with bisabuelas (great-grandmothers) and ending with the author - s birth in 1954. Morales incorporates sidebars on assorted healing herbs and plants (shades of Like Water for Chocolate) into this ostensible healing history. Some of the profiles are illuminating and fresh. We learn of the many women in conquistador Hern n Corts - s life, including his ill-fated first wife, whom he probably killed, his well-connected second wife, and his captured mistress. Another vignette examines Sister Juana de Asbaje, who in 1693 wrote ``the first feminist essay published in the Americas.'' In the 1820s, French-Peruvian noblewoman Flora Tristan was similarly inspired by feminism, embracing socialism and traveling the world. Despite these standouts, Morales - s impressionistic glances at various women lack cohesiveness. She also tends to romanticize their contributions: St. Teresa of Avila, who cursed herself for being born a woman, is here lauded for her courageous, mystical feminism. The reality of Teresa - s life was far more complicated. Intriguing tidbits throughout make the book worth reading, but the parts are stronger than the whole. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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9780807065167: Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriquenos

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ISBN 10:  0807065161 ISBN 13:  9780807065167
Publisher: Beacon Pr, 1998
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