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Health, Politics, and Revolution in Cuba Since 1898 (Hardback)
  • Health, Politics, and Revolution in Cuba Since 1898 (Hardback)
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Health, Politics, and Revolution in Cuba Since 1898 (Hardback)

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£80.99
Hardback 274 Pages / Published: 15/12/2006
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Challenging many of the assumptions scholars have made about the Cuban Revolution's impact on healthcare, this volume recounts one anthropologist's quest to discover the truth behind the complicated relationship between Cuba's revolution, politics, and healthcare system. Katherine Hirschfeld became interested in Cuba in the mid-1990s, after reading numerous laudatory books and articles describing the Castro regime's achievements in health and medicine. Cuba's population health indicators seemed to be far superior to those of neighboring countries, the national health costs low, and medical care free at point-of-service to the entire people. Historical records indicated that most of these positive health trends resulted from the changes instituted by Castro in 1959. Few of these authors, however, had actually spent time on the island. Thus, Hirschfeld found that academic writing on Cuba was often long on praise, but short on empirical research about what exactly had changed in Cuban medicine since 1959.

After much bureaucratic wrangling, Hirschfeld managed to secure permission to conduct long-term ethnographic research in Cuba, where she lived with families from Havana and Santiago, conducted clinic observations, interviewed doctors and patients, and was treated in a Cuban hospital during an epidemic of dengue fever. The reality of the Cuban healthcare system turned out to be different than the scholarly ideal: it was bureaucratized, authoritarian, and repressive, and most people preferred to seek healthcare in the informal economy rather than endure the material shortages, red tape, and political surveillance of the public sector. Written in the form of a first-person narrative, Health, Politics, and Revolution in Cuba Since 1898 not only critically reevaluates Cuban healthcare after the 1959 revolution; it includes chapters detailing Cuban health trends from the Spanish-American War (1898) through the fall of Fulgencio Batista in 1959 and into the present.

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
ISBN: 9780765803443
Number of pages: 274
Weight: 612 g
Dimensions: 235 x 160 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"[I]t is surprising to learn in this ethnographic account by a US medical anthropologist that the Castro government has apparently been cooking the books... Her [Hirschfeld's] idealistic preconceptions dashed by discrepancies between rhetoric and reality, ' she observes a repressive, bureaucratized and secretive system, long on militarization' and short on patients' rights, with state-employed family doctors' responsible not only for health but also for exposing political dissent... [T]he author, resorting to historical documents, concludes that the regime did foster public health gains after 1959, but concomitantly manipulated both health statistics and the impact of earlier US involvement in Cuba to highlight the 1959 revolution's alleged successes. A revealing and persuasive glimpse into public health under socialism. Highly recommended."

--"Choice"

"An exceptionally informative and original study of public health in Cuba that encompasses both its historical dimensions and the developments under Castro...This volume also provides a revealing grass roots portrait of Cuban society that benefits from the author's extensive personal contacts and experiences during her stay there."

--Paul Hollander, author of "Political Pilgrims, Western Intellectuals in Search of the Good Society"

""Health, Politics and Revolution in Cuba Since 1898" is a reflection of a new generation of courageous, fact-based researchers who validate that eclectic qualitative/quantitative comparative anthropological techniques can be mighty effective--when objectively implemented--for deconstructing a closed society's crafty propaganda. In sum, this tome is exemplary science making in the best Millian-Popperian tradition with implications transcending ever-growing Cubanology."

"--Cuban Affairs"

"When Hirschfeld (anthropology, U. of Oklahoma) began the project that was to become this book, it was intended to be simply an ethnographic account on the socialization of health


"[I]t is surprising to learn in this ethnographic account by a US medical anthropologist that the Castro government has apparently been cooking the books... Her [Hirschfeld's] idealistic preconceptions dashed by 'discrepancies between rhetoric and reality, ' she observes a repressive, bureaucratized and secretive system, long on 'militarization' and short on patients' rights, with state-employed 'family doctors' responsible not only for health but also for exposing political dissent... [T]he author, resorting to historical documents, concludes that the regime did foster public health gains after 1959, but concomitantly manipulated both health statistics and the impact of earlier US involvement in Cuba to highlight the 1959 revolution's alleged successes. A revealing and persuasive glimpse into public health under socialism. Highly recommended."

--Choice

"An exceptionally informative and original study of public health in Cuba that encompasses both its historical dimensions and the developments under Castro. . . . This volume also provides a revealing grass roots portrait of Cuban society that benefits from the author's extensive personal contacts and experiences during her stay there."

--Paul Hollander, author of Political Pilgrims, Western Intellectuals in Search of the Good Society

"Health, Politics and Revolution in Cuba Since 1898 is a reflection of a new generation of courageous, fact-based researchers who validate that eclectic qualitative/quantitative comparative anthropological techniques can be mighty effective--when objectively implemented--for deconstructing a closed society's crafty propaganda. In sum, this tome is exemplary science making in the best Millian-Popperian tradition with implications transcending ever-growing Cubanology."

--Cuban Affairs

"When Hirschfeld (anthropology, U. of Oklahoma) began the project that was to become this book, it was intended to be simply an ethnographic account on the socialization of health and medicine in socialist Cuba. After being hospitalized in Cuba following coming down with dengue fever during an epidemic that the government initially denied, however, her newfound skepticism regarding the reliability of official figures and accounts of Cuba's health system led her towards a more historically-oriented investigation of the politics of health in pre- and post-revolutionary Cuba (although the experiences of her fieldwork and hospitalization are also discussed in some detail) This is a paperbound edition of a work first published in 2006."

--SciTech Book News

"Part ethnography (conducted in 1997), part historical analysis. Highly critical of common academic assessments of Cuban health system; questions the veracity of Cuban health statistics."

--Family Medicine

"The misfortune of contracting dengue, while doing fieldwork for her doctoral thesis, provided Katherine Hirschfeld the opportunity to experience health care in Cuba from the patient's standpoint. . . . Inspired by her doctoral project and personal experience, Hirschfeld challenges current statistical presentations and poorly supported accounts."

--Laura Ymayo Tartakoff, Case Western Reserve University


"[I]t is surprising to learn in this ethnographic account by a US medical anthropologist that the Castro government has apparently been cooking the books... Her [Hirschfeld's] idealistic preconceptions dashed by 'discrepancies between rhetoric and reality, ' she observes a repressive, bureaucratized and secretive system, long on 'militarization' and short on patients' rights, with state-employed 'family doctors' responsible not only for health but also for exposing political dissent... [T]he author, resorting to historical documents, concludes that the regime did foster public health gains after 1959, but concomitantly manipulated both health statistics and the impact of earlier US involvement in Cuba to highlight the 1959 revolution's alleged successes. A revealing and persuasive glimpse into public health under socialism. Highly recommended."

--Choice

"An exceptionally informative and original study of public health in Cuba that encompasses both its historical dimensions and the developments under Castro. . . . This volume also provides a revealing grass roots portrait of Cuban society that benefits from the author's extensive personal contacts and experiences during her stay there."

--Paul Hollander, author of Political Pilgrims, Western Intellectuals in Search of the Good Society

"Health, Politics and Revolution in Cuba Since 1898 is a reflection of a new generation of courageous, fact-based researchers who validate that eclectic qualitative/quantitative comparative anthropological techniques can be mighty effective--when objectively implemented--for deconstructing a closed society's crafty propaganda. In sum, this tome is exemplary science making in the best Millian-Popperian tradition with implications transcending ever-growing Cubanology."

--Cuban Affairs

"When Hirschfeld (anthropology, U. of Oklahoma) began the project that was to become this book, it was intended to be simply an ethnographic account on the socialization of health and medicine in socialist Cuba. After being hospitalized in Cuba following coming down with dengue fever during an epidemic that the government initially denied, however, her newfound skepticism regarding the reliability of official figures and accounts of Cuba's health system led her towards a more historically-oriented investigation of the politics of health in pre- and post-revolutionary Cuba (although the experiences of her fieldwork and hospitalization are also discussed in some detail) This is a paperbound edition of a work first published in 2006."

--SciTech Book News

"Part ethnography (conducted in 1997), part historical analysis. Highly critical of common academic assessments of Cuban health system; questions the veracity of Cuban health statistics."

--Family Medicine

"The misfortune of contracting dengue, while doing fieldwork for her doctoral thesis, provided Katherine Hirschfeld the opportunity to experience health care in Cuba from the patient's standpoint. . . . Inspired by her doctoral project and personal experience, Hirschfeld challenges current statistical presentations and poorly supported accounts."

--Laura Ymayo Tartakoff, Case Western Reserve University


-[I]t is surprising to learn in this ethnographic account by a US medical anthropologist that the Castro government has apparently been cooking the books... Her [Hirschfeld's] idealistic preconceptions dashed by 'discrepancies between rhetoric and reality, ' she observes a repressive, bureaucratized and secretive system, long on 'militarization' and short on patients' rights, with state-employed 'family doctors' responsible not only for health but also for exposing political dissent... [T]he author, resorting to historical documents, concludes that the regime did foster public health gains after 1959, but concomitantly manipulated both health statistics and the impact of earlier US involvement in Cuba to highlight the 1959 revolution's alleged successes. A revealing and persuasive glimpse into public health under socialism. Highly recommended.-

--Choice

-An exceptionally informative and original study of public health in Cuba that encompasses both its historical dimensions and the developments under Castro. . . . This volume also provides a revealing grass roots portrait of Cuban society that benefits from the author's extensive personal contacts and experiences during her stay there.-

--Paul Hollander, author of Political Pilgrims, Western Intellectuals in Search of the Good Society

-Health, Politics and Revolution in Cuba Since 1898 is a reflection of a new generation of courageous, fact-based researchers who validate that eclectic qualitative/quantitative comparative anthropological techniques can be mighty effective--when objectively implemented--for deconstructing a closed society's crafty propaganda. In sum, this tome is exemplary science making in the best Millian-Popperian tradition with implications transcending ever-growing Cubanology.-

--Cuban Affairs

-When Hirschfeld (anthropology, U. of Oklahoma) began the project that was to become this book, it was intended to be simply an ethnographic account on the socialization of health and medicine in socialist Cuba. After being hospitalized in Cuba following coming down with dengue fever during an epidemic that the government initially denied, however, her newfound skepticism regarding the reliability of official figures and accounts of Cuba's health system led her towards a more historically-oriented investigation of the politics of health in pre- and post-revolutionary Cuba (although the experiences of her fieldwork and hospitalization are also discussed in some detail) This is a paperbound edition of a work first published in 2006.-

--SciTech Book News

-Part ethnography (conducted in 1997), part historical analysis. Highly critical of common academic assessments of Cuban health system; questions the veracity of Cuban health statistics.-

--Family Medicine

-The misfortune of contracting dengue, while doing fieldwork for her doctoral thesis, provided Katherine Hirschfeld the opportunity to experience health care in Cuba from the patient's standpoint. . . . Inspired by her doctoral project and personal experience, Hirschfeld challenges current statistical presentations and poorly supported accounts.-

--Laura Ymayo Tartakoff, Case Western Reserve University

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