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The Slumbering Masses: Sleep, Medicine, and Modern American Life Hardcover – Sep 10 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press (Sept. 10 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816674744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816674749
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #564,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"A groundbreaking contribution to our understanding of sleep and its manifold discontents. With scrupulous care, Matthew Wolf-Meyer probes the current state of sleep medicine as well as its absorbing history. At a time when modern society’s dependence on sleeping pills and plush bedding has never been greater, The Slumbering Masses is all the more welcome for its ambitious compass and penetrating insights." —A. Roger Ekirch, author of At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past

"The Slumbering Masses is a fascinating account of the ordering and disordering of sleep as an institutional and individual phenomenon in modern America. Wolf-Meyer brings us into the lives of people struggling—at work, at home, and in clinics—to align their nights and days with the abstract demands of sleep as a biomedical form and social norm. He takes us into the past, too—expertly laying to rest fantasies of a prelapsarian agrarian lifestyle—and into the future—investigating how global sleep patterns have started to stagger and syncopate in response to advanced capitalism. Wolf-Meyer teaches us that sleep has a social life, and a restless one at that." —Stefan Helmreich, MIT



"A deconstruction of current preconceptions about sleep. Wolf-Meyer (Anthropology/Univ. of California, Santa Cruz) challenges the notion, promulgated by the medical community and pharmaceutical companies, that the norm of eight hours of consolidated sleep has been scientifically established to be crucial for medical and physical health."—Kirkus Reviews

"A fascinating scholarly approach that will cause readers to question some of the givens regarding sleep habits in American culture."—Library Journal

"A great primer on the history and variability of sleep patterns, this book points to more flexible, realistic expectations of sleep to avoid both the drugs and the nights of insomnia."—ForeWord Reviews

"Takes a polemical view of what might be called the “sleep question.” Wolf-Meyer, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, spent four years interviewing just about everyone involved in sleep research: physicians, technicians, patients, members of patients’ families. He concludes that what Americans have come to think of as sleep problems are mostly just problems in the way Americans have come to think about sleep."—The New Yorker

"A powerful call."—American Ethnologist

"Sleepers are indebted to The Slumbering Masses for compelling them to contemplate sleep (or the lack thereof) from a new perspective."—Canadian Bulletin of Medical History

"Reminds us that how, where, and why we sleep are always political decisions."—Current Anthropology

"Elegant and timely."—Medical Anthropology Quarterly

About the Author

Matthew Wolf-Meyer is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


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