English Summary/英文概要： According to official reports, Cuba’s population health indicators seemed to be far superior to those of neighboring countries. Few researchers, however, had actually spent time on the island. Thus, Hirschfeld found that academic writing on Cuba was often long on praise, but short on empirical research about Cuban medicine since 1959. Challenging many of the assumptions scholars have made about the Cuban Revolution’s impact on healthcare, this volume recounts one anthropologist’s quest to discover the truth behind the complicated relationship between Cuba’s revolution, politics, and health care system.
After much wrangling, Hirschfeld managed to secure permission to conduct long-term ethnographic research in Cuba, where she lived with families from Havana and Santiago, conducted clinic observations, interviewed doctors and patients, and was treated in a Cuban hospital during an epidemic of dengue fever. The reality of the Cuban health care system turned out to be different than the scholarly ideal: it was bureaucratized and repressive. Most people preferred to seek health care in the informal economy rather than endure the material shortages, red tape, and political surveillance of the public sector.
Chinese Summary/中文概要： 根据官方报告，古巴的人口健康指标比周边国家高出很多。很少研究人员对古巴进行过调查研究，因此作者的学术作品受到关注，但是缺乏实证研究。与此同时，作者就学者关于古巴改革对医疗的影响的假设进行了讨论，他论述了一个人类学家探求和发现政治与医疗制度复杂关系背后的真理。通过与医生和病人面谈，登革热病期间在医院里治疗，表明古巴医疗体制与研究者的想象完全不同。大多数人宁愿寻求非正式经济下的医疗保健也不愿忍受材料短缺，繁琐的程序和公共部门下的政治监视。(RY)
Awards/获奖情况： Health, Politics and Revolution in Cuba Since 1898 is a reflection of a new generation of courageous, fact-based researchers who validate that eclectic qualitative/quantitative comparative anthropological techniques can be mighty effective—when objectively implemented—for deconstructing a closed society’s crafty propaganda. In sum, this tome is exemplary science making in the best Millian-Popperian tradition with implications transcending ever-growing Cubanology.---Cuban Affairs
“[I]t is surprising to learn in this ethnographic account by a US medical anthropologist that the Castro government has apparently been cooking the books.... [Hirschfeld’s] idealistic preconceptions dashed by ‘discrepancies between rhetoric and reality,’ she observes a repressive, bureaucratized and secretive system, long on ‘militarization’ and short on patients’ rights, with state-employed ‘family doctors’ responsible not only for health but also for exposing political dissent... [T]he author, resorting to historical documents, concludes that the regime did foster public health gains after 1959, but concomitantly manipulated both health statistics and the impact of earlier US involvement in Cuba to highlight the 1959 revolution’s alleged successes. A revealing and persuasive glimpse into public health under socialism. Highly recommended.”---Choice