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Call The Midwife: A True Story Of The East End In The 1950S [Format Kindle]

Jennifer Worth
4.8 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

Emulating James Herriot-except with fewer cows and more cockneys- Worth sketches a warm, amiable portrait of hands-on medical practice.

The author became a midwife at age 22, learning her trade in the 1950s from the nun midwives at the convent of St. Raymund Nonnatus and working among impoverished women in the slums of the London Docklands. Her frank, sometimes graphic memoir describes scores of births, from near-catastrophes to Christmas miracles, and details her burgeoning understanding of the world and the people in it. It's stocked with charming characters: loopy sister Monica Joan, the convent's near-mystic cake-gobbler and mischief-maker; Father Joseph Williamson, focused on delivering prostitutes rather than babies; handyman/poultry salesman/drain cleaner/toffee-apple pusher Frank; and posh Camilla Fortescue-Cholmeley-Browne ("Chummy"), an outrageously warm-hearted debutante who devoted her life to midwifery and missionary work. Worth depicts the rich variety of life in the slums, where loving, doting mothers of nine rubbed elbows with neglectful, broken young women turning tricks to support their husbands' night life. She draws back the veil usually placed over the process of birth, described here as both tribulation and triumph. In birth after birth, as women and midwives labored to bring babies into the world through hours of pain and occasional danger, Worth marveled at the mothers' almost- uniform embrace of their babies. "There must be an inbuilt system of total forgetfulness in a woman," she writes. "Some chemical or hormone that immediately enters the memory part of the brain after delivery, so that there is absolutely no recall of the agony that has gone before. If this were not so, no woman would ever have a second baby."

A charming tale of deliveries and deliverance.
-Kirkus Review

With deep professional knowledge of midwifery and an unerring eye for the details of life in the London slums of the Nineteen Fifties Jennifer Worth has painted a stunningly vivid picture of an era now passed."
-Patrick Taylor MD, author of the New York Times best seller An Irish Country Doctor.

"Readers will fall in love with The Midwife, a richly drawn chronicle of midwifery in the 1950's, in London's East end. Recounted with great tenderness and poignancy, Jennifer Worth's story is an affirmation of life during the best and worst of times, and a celebration of the relentless drama and awe-inspiring magic of birth."
-Elizabeth Brundage, author of Somebody Else's Daughter

"Jennifer Worth's memories of her years as a midwife in the East End were at once hilariously horrible and tremendously moving. She recounts a period when birth was both more frightening and more personal. Part of me wishes that my obstetrician had shown up at my house on a rickety old bicycle, and treated me both to a delivery and a hot cup of tea."
- Ayelet Waldman, author of Love and Other Impossible Pursuits

Worth gained her midwife training in the 1950s among an Anglican order of nuns dedicated to ensuring safer childbirth for the poor living amid the Docklands slums on the East End of London. Her engaging memoir retraces those early years caring for the indigent and unfortunate during the pinched postwar era in London, when health care was nearly nonexistent, antibiotics brand-new, sanitary facilities rare, contraception unreliable and families with 13 or more children the norm. Working alongside the trained nurses and midwives of St. Raymund Nonnatus (a pseudonym she's given the place), Worth made frequent visits to the tenements that housed the dock workers and their families, often in the dead of night on her bicycle. Her well-polished anecdotes are teeming with character detail of some of the more memorable nurses she worked with, such as the six- foot-two Camilla Fortescue-Cholmeley-Browne, called Chummy, who renounced her genteel upbringing to become a nurse, or the dotty old Sister Monica Joan, who fancied cakes immoderately. Patients included Molly, only 19 and already trapped in poverty and degradation with several children and an abusive husband; Mrs. Conchita Warren, who was delivering her 24th baby; or the birdlike vagrant, Mrs. Jenkins, whose children were taken away from her when she entered the workhouse.
- Publishers Weekly

Présentation de l'éditeur

Jennifer Worth came from a sheltered background when she became a midwife in the Docklands in the 1950s. The conditions in which many women gave birth just half a century ago were horrifying, not only because of their grimly impoverished surroundings, but also because of what they were expected to endure. But while Jennifer witnessed brutality and tragedy, she also met with amazing kindness and understanding, tempered by a great deal of Cockney humour. She also earned the confidences of some whose lives were truly stranger, more poignant and more terrifying than could ever be recounted in fiction.

Attached to an order of nuns who had been working in the slums since the 1870s, Jennifer tells the story not only of the women she treated, but also of the community of nuns (including one who was accused of stealing jewels from Hatton Garden) and the camaraderie of the midwives with whom she trained. Funny, disturbing and incredibly moving, Jennifer's stories bring to life the colourful world of the East End in the 1950s.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1624 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 353 pages
  • Editeur : Weidenfeld & Nicolson (14 mai 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B002UP1SX6
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.8 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°51.650 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Emouvant, instructif ,drôle , très bien écrit. 14 juin 2012
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
J'ai lu ce témoignage d'un trait. Ecrit dans un anglais clair et accessible aux anglicistes français il rappelle souvent l'univers et le ton de certains romans de Dickens. Pour ceux qui ont connu la pauvreté dans les années 50 il leur montrera que la misère en Angleterre n'avait rien à envier à celle de nos quartiers défavorisés d'alors. La narratrice-auteur est, à travers son récit, une dame dont on aimerait faire la connaissance. Le dévouement de ces "petites Soeurs des Pauvres" et de celles qui travaillaiient avec elles est émouvant. Et dire que le Londres que l'on nous décrit ici est devenu, au bord de la Tamise, un repère de bobos !
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Par Cape Hope
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Fan de la série BBC inspirée de ce livre, j'ai souhaité découvrir l'original. Celui-ci a dépassé mes attentes, il est encore mieux que la série, plus réaliste notamment, on apprend plein de choses sur Londres dans les années 1950 tout en passant un bon moment avec des personnages attachants.

Le livre est écrit à la première personne, c'est en fait un récit hautement autobiographique. Jennifer Worth a un véritable talent de conteuse: elle se remémore les faits de façon très vivante et pleine d'humour, sans détours inutiles. Elle a écrit le livre assez récemment, et elle met donc en perspective les années 1950 par rapport à ce que nous connaissons maintenant.

A lire absolument!
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Vive les sage-femmes! 10 mars 2014
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Très bon livre que j'ai eu envie de lire après la vision de la série Britannique sur D8! Bien m'en a pris q car le livre est un véritable témoignage non seulement sur l'abnégation de ces jeunes femmes, mais aussi sur L'East End de Londres dans les années 50 quand les docks étaient encore des lieux mal famés! Livre émouvant et plein d'humour à la fois!
So British!
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 A must to read 23 janvier 2015
Par Fufalda
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
A book to reed for remember how was our "civilised" London not so long ago and to onor the nurses and midwife
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.7 étoiles sur 5  1.449 commentaires
110 internautes sur 112 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 You won't regret picking this book up! It'll be hard to put down. 4 mai 2009
Par Story Circle Book Reviews - Publié sur
"Why did I ever start? Do I regret it?" Jennifer Worth asks herself in her memoir The Midwife. "Never, never, never. I wouldn't swap my job for anything on earth." Worth began her career as a midwife in the 1950s in the London Docklands.

The Docklands were poverty stricken, dirty, and recently bombed during World War II. People lived in condemned buildings among rats, grime, and violence. Worth worked out of a Nunnery, providing prenatal care, delivering babies in their homes, and checking up on the moms and babies afterward. It was a busy life with highly unpredictable hours.

One of the most memorable women in the book was Conchita Warren. Worth delivered two of her babies, numbers 24 and 25! The Warren family all lived together in a small London apartment. What was most remarkable--apart from the vast number of children--was the fact that Conchita spoke no English. Her soldier husband had met and married her in Spain and brought her home with him. "Quite suddenly, with blinding insight, the secret of their blissful marriage was revealed to me," Worth wrote. "She couldn't speak a word of English, and he couldn't speak a word of Spanish!"

Some readers may be turned off by the subject, fearing gore, blood, and other unpleasant things often associated with birth. But this is one book you don't want to judge by its cover. The Midwife is, more than anything, the story of an amazing woman in 1950s London and the people she met. I recommend this book to anyone interested in history, motivating stories, or who just wants a good read.

by Jennifer Melville
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
101 internautes sur 107 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Touching Tale 13 juillet 2009
Par Julie Peterson - Publié sur
When I first heard about the book THE MIDWIFE: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth, I just knew I wanted to read it. I have always been fascinated by the role of midwives in our history, and I thought the idea of the author living in a convent would be interesting. too While I was thinking that I'd probably like this book, I can definitely say that THE MIDWIFE far exceeded my expectations!

This is a major aside, but it might help explain my interest in the profession of midwifery. I think women who choose midwives for their birthing option have amazing experiences. However, I have to admit that I didn't choose to go that route -- mainly because I am a major chicken and wanted an epidural. (In fact, when I was admitted to the hospital to deliver my first daughter and was asked about my pain plan, I told them DRUGS - early and often.) I find it very ironic that my daughter was actually delivered by a midwife because the doctor never made it to the delivery room in time! My husband and I agreed that the woman who delivered my daughter was a very supportive and inspirational person who made my delivery extra-special.

Since THE MIDWIFE is a memoir, I was expecting it to be all about the author Jennifer Worth. I figured that this book would include information about how the author became a midwife -- the reason behind her decision as well as lots of information on her training, etc. However, much to my surprise, this book wasn't really all about Ms. Worth. Rather, the "memoir" was filled with amazing stories about the mothers (and others) that she encountered during her years as a midwife. In addition, I was surprise by how readable this book was -- there were so many touching stories as well as humorous ones that existed within the pages of this book.

I just loved reading this book and learning about all of her patients' birthing stories. I definitely gained a huge respect for the value of a midwife in the lives of these people who lived in London's East End in the 1950s; however, what I also found was how brave and strong all of these women were who lived back then. Often times, these women were living in squalid and crowded conditions with lots (and lots) of children; and their husbands were little, if any, help. In addition, birth control wasn't really an option for most of these women. The way they balanced their lives and their families is absolutely amazing; and I found THE MIDWIFE to be a very uplifting story about the power of women!

In addition to enjoying the stories about Ms. Worth's patients, I also really liked the parts of the book that took place in the convent. Because the author had worked as a nurse in the rigid environment of a hospital, she definitely appreciated the loving and caring nature of the nuns. I have no doubt that these nuns were just wonderful women with all the good they did for the families in London's East End. While I was touched by their actions, I also found myself laughing out load at the many hilarious stories about the women. I felt like these anecdotes about the women living in the convent were also very much a testament to the strength of women.

Another thing I really adored about this book was seeing how Ms. Worth grew not only as a midwife, but also as a person. I really liked her from the first pages of this book; however, my admiration for her just kept growing as I read this book. I truly believe that women that went into the midwife profession in the 1950s like Ms. Worth were a very special breed, but I loved how Ms. Worth matured through the years she lived in the convent. She began her story with a pretty apathetic view on religion; however, as she lived with these holy women and saw their faith, she began to think about her own beliefs. The book definitely doesn't hit you over the head with these messages (and maybe I was just looking for them), but I really appreciated how she ended this book.

Needless to say, I highly recommend THE MIDWIFE. I think anyone who is interested in midwifery or even medicine back in the 1950s would enjoy this book. In addition, I think women of all types will value the various stories about the amazing women she encountered.
100 internautes sur 109 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A rare treasure 6 septembre 2008
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I picked up this book in the London airport on a whim: I was pregnant and it took place in London-- a perfect souvenir. I was immediately drawn into this young midwife's story of her experiences in the poor areas of London during the 1950s. Since she wrote her memoir years later, the insight of an older woman adds a deeper layer to the book that really makes it a treasure. I lent this to my mother upon returning from our trip and haven't seen it since-- it's one of those rare books that will be passed around until it's well worn.
34 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Well-told Tale. Five Stars! 27 août 2009
Par James Denny - Publié sur
Jennifer Worth's tale of her time as a midwife in the Docklands of London's East End in the 1950's reads more like a Dickensian novel from the 1850's. She explains that by the early 1960's, the East-ender Cockney culture and dockworker-dominated economy in this part of London came quietly to an end. This culture had sustained itself for more than 100 years with little change, highly insulated from outside influences.

"The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times" is more than a tale of delivering babies. It is a work of history and anthropology as well as a personal memoir. The chapter-by-chapter blend of all these elements is told by a woman with a keen eye to all that she saw and experienced. No detail escapes her sharp eye. Each chapter is a story unto itself. The chapters roll up to an epic tale.

Why did this culture end in the early 1960's? Worth offers up three reasons for this: loss of dockyard jobs; demolition of the tenements; and arrival of the pill resulting in much smaller family size.

Huge families were still the norm in the Docklands of the East End in the 1950's as they had been for many decades. Families typically lived in two or three-room tenements, some without running water and most without a bathroom. No one practiced birth control. Young people married young.

Many of the tenement blocks were built in the 1840's and 1850's. Those that survived World War II bombing had undergone little structural alteration in the years since. This type of living would support a modest working-class family that allowed a measure of dignity in an era still largely missing the social support systems and welfare in Britain today.

With rudimentary nursing skills, Worth affiliated with a church order that provided midwifery services to the women in families who embraced this culture. At the time, most working-class women still gave birth at home rather than in hospital. The midwives performed essential services to people who would otherwise have gone largely without. Most of their skills were learned by experience and mentoring not through academic or technical medical education.

Her tale is also about what life was like at the nunnery and why she enjoyed the lifestyle and companionship more than as a nurse in a hospital. As a bonus, at the end of the book there is a fascinating appendix on Cockney language terms and expressions, their derivation and use.

"The Midwife" is a well-told tale of a bygone era. Five Stars!
36 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The MIdwife 5 juillet 2010
Par Oliver Caldwell - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I loved this book, I bought the whole series and recommend them to anyone interested in transporting yourself to another place and time. It certainly makes me glad for the time we live in now! The characters are real and the books makes you wish you had the chance to meet them.
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