In the Kingdom of the Sick by Laurie Edwards

In the Kingdom of the Sick

Thirty years ago, Susan Sontag wrote, "Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship in the kingdom of the well and the kingdom of the sick ... Sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place." Now more than 133 million Americans live with chronic illness, accounting for nearly three-quarters of all health care dollars, and untold pain and disability.There has been an alarming rise ...

Details In the Kingdom of the Sick

TitleIn the Kingdom of the Sick
Release DateApr 9th, 2013
PublisherWalker Books
GenreNonfiction, Health, History, Medicine, Science

Reviews In the Kingdom of the Sick

  • Carrie Kellenberger
    I stumbled across the last copy of In the Kingdom of the Sick: A Social History of Chronic Illness in America while I was browsing through our local book store. Interestingly enough, that day was one of the first days I was able to move around with some ease. I have Ankylosing Spondylitis, a type of spinal juvenile arthritis that affects every part in my body, and I had spent the last 78 days in an ongoing flare that left me bedridden and unable...
  • Stephanie
    An at-times confronting, at-times anger-producing book. Not at the book itself, but at the system that exists around those suffering from chronic illness.Caveat: I suffer from a chronic illness, one which is not presently curable, but is treatable. Despite treatment, it still affects my life a great deal. I am not able to work a traditional full-time job. I have to measure out my energy carefully every day. Most days, I am in some kind of pain.Ca...
  • Dov Zeller
    "In the Kingdom of the Sick" is a well-researched, interesting look at chronic illness. The author, Laurie Edwards, is sick herself, though high-functioning much of the time. She empathizes with the plight of the chronically ill (it is her plight, too), as they struggle with the horrors of the western medicine machine, and at the same time tries to seek out what is working in our western allopathic medical traditions. I think ultimately she is ma...
  • Linda
    I wanted to enjoy this more than I did--unless you have issues with what was addressed I don't think this will be of interest to the general public. The author tended to get somewhat ramble-y at points.I will say that the points she made about people who have "invisible" disabilities was very important though, as my husband is one of those--just because people don't "look" disabled doesn't mean they are not. Some aren't obvious or some people wor...
  • Gabrielle Carolina
    After some time away I realized this book was nothing like I hoped it would be and no where near as amazing as it really could have been. Expectation: A conversation-starter for those with chronic illness, written in an engaging, affirming voice.Reality: A timeline of events pertaining to the general awareness of chronic illness that was less than engaging.
  • Jenny
    Oh god, the problems with this book.I picked this up after I heard Laurie Edwards give an interview on Fresh Air on NPR one afternoon, and I thought, "Gosh, this woman is so articulate. I bet her writing is fantastic!" Well, it is and it isn't.Problem #1: The goal of this book is inscrutable to me. It seems like she intended to touch on a wide breadth of thoughts without really developing or analyzing any of them very much in depth. So was the go...
  • NTE
    Let me first say, that it’s complicated for me to talk about this book, particularly in any sort of unbiased way, since I’m in it. Quite a bit, actually: Over the course of the last four years, Laurie’s been interviewing me, and asking me a bunch of thoughtful, challenging, questions - both specific and sweeping in scope - and then listening to me blabber on and on in response. She somehow managed to cobble a lot of my bits of nonsense toge...
  • Mary Miller
    Here's where I have a problem, oh dear: I wanted to like this book, in fact I wanted a book I could curl up with that discussed chronic pain in a real way that would not only educate, give support and hopefully measure out some aspect of compassion. This one didn't do it.It could have been a wonderful book based on her insight as a person with a life long disability, grappling with both her condition, with doctors and so forth, instead this is wr...
  • David
    Incorporates her own experience with a lung disease, celiac, and several others, plus interviews with people with chronic illnesses, interviews with medical people,and literature review to address many aspects of the history and sociology of chronic illness.It's an important subject, and I can't say I really disagree with her about anything major, so I'm not sure exactly why I experienced it as such a slog to finish. Leading candidate hypotheses ...
  • Libby
    Those of us who hold citizenship in the dreary kingdom of chronic illness will recognize every word in this thoughtful appraisal of modern medicine and illness that is"treatable but not curable." Most of us have experienced the phenomena of "blaming the victim" or seen the look that means "It's all in your head, Little Lady." We have seen our symptoms frustrate, irritate and downright bore our employers, colleagues and acquaintances. We too, are ...
  • Daniel Cooke
    As someone who suffers from fibromyalgia I was hoping to get more out of this book than I did. Overall, this reads like a college textbook for a sociology course rather than a book for a lay reader. I found the writing disjointed and academic with little information that wasn't obvious to any modern reader who has the misfortune to be a frequent user of our flawed medical system. Though there were interesting insights into how women continue to b...
  • Shruti
    3.5 starsBefore I can lay out my thoughts on In the Kingdom of the Sick: A Social History of Chronic Illness in America by Laurie Edwards, I must make a confession. I have a masters degree in public health. This means that I have studied this topic in a lot of detail. The interplay between the ill and society was a topic of strong personal interest to me long before I identified as one of the ill, and I have therefore done a lot of reading on the...
  • Rita Ciresi
    “It’s hard to see your peers doing things with their lives that you want to be doing with yours, and to know that you’re just not physically capable of doing those things right now—or might never be.” Laurie Edwards is at her best when she is speaking from personal experience about her own battles with chronic illness, and when she is interviewing those who also suffer from it. This book offers a more general view of chronic illness as ...
  • Leah
    "In the Kingdom of the Sick" is a fascinating read for anyone with a personal and/or professional connection to chronic illness. It begins by giving you a strong foundation in the history of illness, research, and patient advocacy movements. It then challenges you to consider the impact of advances in patient rights, science, communication, and technology on the incidence, treatment, and perception of chronic illness. One look at the book's bibli...
  • Joy Selak
    Those who live with chronic illness, in particular the thousands of patients with invisible illnesses, feel impossibly lonely in their lives. Their reporting of their illnesses are often not believed by friends and family and sidelined by the health care community, invested in interventions and cures, not the treatment of ongoing illness.Laurie Edwards' brilliantly written and thoroughly researched book cures one thing--loneliness. By taking read...
  • Aviva
    Laurie did a lot of research for this book, as evidenced by the ten pages of (single-spaced, small print!) bibliography as well as the informationally dense text. The book has a slightly academic feel to it, especially in the early chapters. But it was so fascinating at the same time that I was never tempted to abandon it. I did have to read it in chunks because it gave me too much to think about and want to respond to. My copy has a thick, pink ...
  • Dorothee
    Good historical and political analysis of activism and changes in treatment and perception of chronic illness. Loved chapters 1-6!Found the last 50 pages a little too generalizing, somehow touching on too many issues and not going into a deeper analysis. Unfortunately the debate about the ACA that closes the book is already no longer up to date, which takes away from the impact of the conclusion.Still, can recommend this for everyone interested i...
  • Anelie
    This was interesting. She talked about chronic illness, the issues surrounding it, and the difficulties we have as a society in dealing with it. Although it is not a long book, it covers the issues well if not deeply and delineates the difficulties we have even talking about the issues, let alone dealing with them in a meaningful way.
  • Tom W
    Well written, provocative and compelling. Shares the perspective of those among nearly half of our citizens who have conditions that will never be”cured” but must be “managed”. Really worth the read.
  • Z Blair
    This book is so well written, and so pertinent to my work and really, my personal life. I'll add a more thoughtful review when I have finished, but I just want to say: IF you or someone you love is living with a chronic illness, this book is a must read!
  • Philippe
    Chronic illness is not just an objectively verifiable physiological deficiency. Our experience and understanding of it is always mediated by the norms and values of our time. Chronic illness as a social construct has significantly evolved over the last century. Edwards traces its history from premodern times - dominated by moralistic attitudes about the link between character and illness - through the twentieth century in which the biomedical mod...
  • Shana Yates
    Overall this is a solid book, outlining the history of chronic illness in the United States, both from a medical perspective and, largely, from a patient perspective. There is some excellent insight to glean and a lot to think about, especially as our longer lives mean more of us will deal with some form of chronic illness. Of course, such illnesses run the gamut from the most miserable conditions that cause constant pain or extreme fatigue or ot...
  • Ashley
    "in the kingdom of the sick" quoted from Susan Sontag: "illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship in the kingdom of the well and the kingdom of the sick"NOTES:-Shift in prevalence of chronic illness vs infectious disease/ acute disease post World War 2-Patient Rights, informed consent, abusive medical research, disclosure of medical information to patient, patient privacy, medical e...
  • Cynthia Toussaint
    What a phenomenal education I got about, as the subtitle states, the social history of chronic illness in America when I read Laurie Edwards’"In the Kingdom of the Sick".As a person with persistent pain, fatigue and disability, I identified deeply with this well-researched, well-written book. Among many new understandings, Laurie gave me an acute awareness of the self-imposed attitudes that separate us with chronic illness – as well as those ...
  • Danea
    In the Kingdom of the Sick is an exceptionally well researched look at the history and culture of illness in America. It is also a very personal book which intersects intellectual ponderings with historical facts and patient stories. As a patient, it was fascinating to read about the beliefs and advocacy that have shaped my current medical experience. Edwards tackles sensitive topics such as the controversies around chronic Lyme, fibromyalgia and...
  • Seraphical
    I could REALLY have done without all the interviews with Autism Moms (TM) and the way that their shitty fake medicine "therapies" and "treatments" are uncritically presented as reactions to the way the medical industrial complex tends to roll over individuals (both can be bad! Both are bad! Stop torturing your children) and I so did NOT like that we didn't hear from any autistic adults - Edwards did an amazing job at centering the voices of patie...
  • Bob Anderson
    Edwards explores the landscape of chronic illness expertly. Her style is a bit out of my preferred range, with its extensive quotations left to argue for themselves. And sometimes her subject, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Morgellons, is just kinda alien to my experience and knowledge. But this book does wonders for framing the world, not as something settled but as an ongoing argument or negotiation. She destroys the ideas of certainty tha...
  • Amber
    I found this book very informative and affirming. It wasn't a real page turner but I think it is a really important read for anyone dealing with a chronic condition or disability and for anyone who has a friend or family member dealing with health issues, which is basically everyone since at one time or another we are all residents in the Kingdom of the Sick. I finished the book quite impressed and inspired by Ms. Edwards' full life despite her a...
  • Tiffany Fay
    This is a very important book. Edwards chronicles the history of chronic illness in relation to the PWA (people with AIDS) movement, the womens health movement and the breast cancer awareness campaigns of the '90s. The history is peppered with personal narratives of people suffering with chronic illnesses. She also discusses the power of the internet and social medias impact on the chronic patient experience. Edwards commentary places chronic ill...