The Woman Who Walked Into the Sea: Huntington's and the Making of a Genetic Disease

Alice Wexler, Author Yale University Press $30 (253p) ISBN 978-0-300-10502-5
Wexler, Alice. The Woman Who Walked into the Sea: Huntington's and the Making of a Genetic Disease. Yale Univ. Sept. 2008. c.288p. illus. index. MED~Wexler's thoroughly documented and clearly presented history of Huntington's provides a more focused complement to Edwin Black's study of eugenics in this country, The War Against the Weak. Recommended for academic medical libraries and large public libraries. Background Writing again about her family's history of Huntington's disease, Wexler (Mapping Fate: A Memoir of Family, Risk, and Genetic Disease) broadens her earlier work to place the disease in a historical context in America. She uses the family of Phebe Hedges, based in East Hampton, Long Island, NY, to show the early effects of what was sometimes called St. Vitus's Dance and the ""witches' disease"" on individuals, their relatives, and their communities. This leads to a look at how the medical and scientific community began to focus on it as a unique entity and how it gradually was seen to fit into the emerging understanding of genetics. Finally, Wexler shows how Huntington's was viewed by and incorporated into the eugenics movement in the United States. From the early 1900s and continuing even into the 1970s, both affected individuals and the scientific community talked about means of ""control,"" which included enforced sterilization.--Dick Maxwell, Porter Adventist Hosp. Lib., Denver.
Reviewed on: 09/01/2008
Release date: 09/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 253 pages - 978-0-300-15861-8
Ebook - 278 pages - 978-0-300-15177-0
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