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We Lived for the Body
Natural Medicine and Public Health in Imperial Germany
“Avi Sharma’s book is a well-written presentation of the modern and positive aspects of German Naturheilkunde and Lebensreform, in which he combines description with substantiated critique on common historiography.” —Isis: A Journal of the History of Science Society
“Sharma's book represents a valuable contribution to German medical history, political history, and cultural history. It is impressively wide-ranging. In tracing the history of German natural medicine in the 19th and early 20th centuries, he takes the reader through the details of unconventional cures and bungled vaccinations, and also offers a fascinating look at the unstable authority of academic medicine in German public life. As he shows, natural medicine was much more than an idiosyncratic sideshow; it was a prominent and important cultural movement that addressed issues of individuality, bodily autonomy, and the proper role of state power.”-Denise Phillips, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Nature was central to the Wilhelmine German experience. Medical cosmologies and reform-initiatives were a key to consumer practices and lifestyle choices. Nature's appeal transcended class, confession, and political party. Millions of Germans recognized that nature had healing effects and was intimately tied to quality of life. In the 1880s and 1890s, this preoccupation with nature became an increasingly important part of German popular culture.
June 2014, 5.5x8.5, 235 pp.
Avi Sharma received his PhD at University of Chicago, where he taught for several years. He is a research associate at a Berlin-based think tank and is currently developing a project on the social and political consequences of climate change.
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