Book reviews

History of medicine book reviews of possible interest can be found on the British Society for the History of Medicine website 

Latest reviews

Sara Read (2020) 
The gossips’ choice
[historical novel]
Reviewed by Carol Hindley RM

Lara Freidenfelds (2020)
The myth of the perfect pregnancy: A history of miscarriage in America
Reviewed by Dr Mary Nolan

Anja Katharina Peters (2020) Nanna Conti (1881-1951): Eine Biographie der Reichshebammenführerin
English abstract by the author, edited by Dr Alison Nuttall

Karen Harvey (2020) The imposteress rabbit breeder: Mary Toft and eighteenth-Century England
Reviewed by Dr Ashleigh Blackwood

Karen Hearn (2020) Portraying pregnancy: from Holbein to social media
Reviewed by Dr Sarah Fox

Rosalind K Marshall (2019) Discovered lives: ladies of St Giles’, Edinburgh 1587-1672
Reviewed by Professor Rosemary Mander

Wendy Kline (2019) Coming home: how midwives changed birth
Reviewed by Professor Rosemary Mander

Earlier reviews

Catherine M Morrison (2017)  Hebridean heroines: twentieth-century Queen’s Nurses (1940s-1970s)
Reviewed by Dr Alison Nuttall

Jennifer Evans and Sara Read (2017) Maladies and medicine: exploring health and healing 1540-1740
Reviewed by Carole McGlone

Sara Read (2015) Maids, wives, widows: exploring early modern women’s lives 1540-1740
Reviewed by Dr Julia Allison

Gill Rossini (2014) A history of adoption in England and Wales: 1850-1961
Reviewed by Dr Lindsay Reid

David J Hallam-Jones (2013) The Firs Maternity Hospital, Nottingham, England: a short history
Reviewed by Dr Tania McIntosh

Angela Davis (2012) Modern motherhood: women and family in England, 1945-2000
Reviewed by Professor Rima D Apple

Anne Borsay and Billie Hunter (eds) (2012) Nursing and midwifery since 1700
Reviewed by Professor Mavis Kirkham

Lindsay Reid (2011) Midwifery in Scotland: a history
Reviewed by Dr Anne Cameron

John Riddle (2010) Goddesses, elixirs and witches: plants and sexuality throughout human history
Reviewed by Professor Helen King

Thompson, Elizabeth (2001) The diary of a Kendal midwife 1669-1675
Reviewed by Dr Lindsay Reid

Eccles, Audrey (1982, reprinted 2008) Obstetrics and gynaecology in Tudor and Stuart England
Reviewed by Dr Lindsay Reid

Historical fiction/ creative non-fiction

Annelisa Christensen (2016) The Popish midwife – A tale of high treason, prejudice and betrayal
Reviewed by Terri Coates

Levy, Valerie (2010)  Midwyf Liza
Reviewed by Professor Mavis Kirkham

The books we review on this page need to be relevant to the aims of De Partu. I should like to emphasise, however, that ‘history’ and its research can cover any time; what happens today will be the history of tomorrow. I am hoping, therefore, that we will be able to cover quite a broad spectrum of books in our reviews over the coming months and years, including midwifery/childbirth historical fiction. No date limit is set for inclusion, since older work may still be of scholarly value.

During 2018 we will set up links from this site to the book reviews section of the British Society for the History of Medicine website and vice versa, with the aim of providing both groups with a wider audience.

If you feel able to review for De Partu, please email me, preferably with your special interests noted, so that I can compile a list of potential reviewers across a range of subject areas. The written reviews are likely to be in the region of 500 words.

Books received and currently available for review are listed here. A proforma is provided for guidance on content and format.

I should be pleased to receive suggestions for books to review. Please email me at  with the title, author, year of publication and publisher.

Thank you,


Dr Alison Nuttall
Book Review Editor

It should be noted that opinions expressed in these reviews are solely those of the reviewers.

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