“[A]n outstanding work of historical ethnography. . . . The book offers wonderful insight into how women created and understood the great changes of the 20th century. It is unique in its scope and its intimate knowledge of rural life.” —Russian Review
“[A] major contribution to the field. . . . an important book that should be of considerable interest to medical historians and historians of peasants, the family, and of women.” —American Historical Review
Village Mothers describes the reception of modern medical ideas and practices by three generations of Russian and Tatar village women in the 20th century. Using the village mothers’ own words, David L. Ransel shows how the women mediated the inherited beliefs of their families and communities, the claims of the state to control reproduction, and their personal desires for a better life.