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Reviews

"I wasn't sure what a palliative care doctor was doing reading about the political history of pain, but I soon found it hard to put down... Anyone who works in palliative care and has a broader interest in the political and legal aspects of pain management and physician-assisted suicide will enjoy this book."

"This book should be read by patients, clinicians and policy makers who wish to understand the recent past to guide future advocacy, public engagement and policy as we seek... to change the way chronic pain is perceived, managed and judged—for the betterment of all."

"A deeply felt and provocative history of the political uses to which pain has been put in modern America."

"Will surely bring to mind the aphorism of Santayana, that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. But it does so much more: If we want to understand the origins of terms such as 'welfare queen' and 'entitlements for the undeserving' and 'givers versus takers,' we need look no further than Pain: A Political History."

"This well-rounded discussion of the politics of pain and pain relief in post WW II America is an approachable resource for readers from many disciplines and backgrounds... This book would be a good political entry point for scholars in sociology and medical humanities, and medical practitioners. Readers in political science and public policy will find this a good topical summary of pain management laws and movements."

"In short, Wailoo argues, pain is an effective political issue. It just depends on whose pain you're talking about."

"An interesting and engaging read... It is refreshing to read about the need to find a middle ground when discussing pain in relation to the political forum... This book would be of insight to anyone with an interest in the historical management of pain."

"In Pain: A Political History, Keith Wailoo illuminates the social, political, and ideological lines along which our understanding of pain and our approach to treating (and paying for) it have been drawn."

"Pain: A Political History is a useful introduction to a study of the role of pain in postwar American legislation on disability, physician-assisted suicide and fetal pain."

"Wailoo bring[s] the creative and unexpected tools that have enlivened scholarship on the senses."

"Here's a must-read book for scholars and students of American history as well as history of medicine."

"Wailoo bring[s] the creative and unexpected tools that have enlivened scholarship on the senses."

"Physicians and social scientists are aware that individual pain is complex and elusive—an aggregate of physiology, cultural context, and idiosyncrasy. Wailoo has added a significant analytic dimension to this understanding of pain by incorporating the domains of ideology and politics as they are reflected in policy. A highly original and persuasively argued contribution by one of America's most prominent historians of medicine and society, Pain will attract a wide and thoughtful readership."

"Wailoo's ambitious volume tells post–World War Two American political history through the story of pain: its cultural meanings, economic costs, and bureaucratic management and its political uses and abuses. No other work I know of sustains such a macro-analysis while attending to pain's medical, moral, and media significances. And reading it hurts not—and for policy makers might even be therapeutic! Bravo!"

"At once capacious and focused, Pain expands on the cultural histories of this compelling topic by admirably developing the political construction of the elusive and yet ever-so-material experience of pain. The politics of pain, disability, medicine, and suicide emerge as Wailoo’s book ranges across the rhetoric of a 'bleeding heart' liberal to the conservative uses of rugged individualism in relation to the pharmaceutical industry."

"Beautifully written, broad ranging, deep, wise, unexpected, and endlessly fascinating."