Disease and the Modern World: 1500 to the Present Day

Disease and the Modern World: 1500 to the Present Day

Mark Harrison

Language: English

Pages: 280

ISBN: 0745628109

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this lively and accessible book, Mark Harrison charts the history of disease from the birth of the modern world around 1500 through to the present day.

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six deaths out of around 14,000 cases. This gave Slim’s army an advantage over the Japanese, whose own discipline and drug supplies were collapsing as they retreated. Blood samples taken from Japanese POWs at the end of the campaign showed an infection rate as high as 50 per cent.61 But the control of malaria in Burma and other theatres of war was not due entirely to chemo-prophylaxis. DDT also played a major role, just as it had in the case of typhus in Italy. In Burma and Italy it was used

British and Islamic purity campaigners joined forces in an extraordinary campaign to close all brothels, drug dens and drinking houses. The ‘purification’ of Alexandria and Cairo resulted in so many arrests that new prisons had to be built to accommodate thousands of prostitutes, pimps and drug-dealers.72 The US army was also forbidden to use brothels in France. American Progressives linked modern ideas of efficiency with older ideals of morality and cleanliness. The American government was thus

this was unlikely. The emphasis ought to be placed, he argued, on sanitary measures.42 Britain stood somewhere between France and Germany. In a pioneering work of epidemiology, Dr John Snow (1813–58) had traced an outbreak of cholera in London to a particular source of drinking water – the Broad Street Pump. He concluded that the agent causing the disease must be transmitted in water.43 Snow’s theory was initially regarded as too exclusive, but by the 1860s there was more evidence to support his

that a modern disease category such as ‘plague’ or ‘cholera’ necessarily referred to the same thing in the past. The history of diseases, on the other hand, can help us to reconstruct life in past times, to explain the rise and fall of civilizations, to identify social differences in the incidence of ill health, and to assess the consequences of economic and environmental change. Disease can only be fully understood as a historical phenomenon if we attempt both forms of inquiry. It is important

87–108. 36 Baldwin, Contagion, p. 120. 37 Ibid., pp. 123–5. 38 See Correspondence Respecting the Quarantine Laws since the Correspondence Last Presented to Parliament: Presented by Command to the House of Commons, in Pursuance to their Address of 19 May 1846 (T. R. Harrison, London, 1846). 39 Sir W. M. G. Colebrook, governor of Barbados, to Rt.-Hon. Sir John Packington, MP, 15 January 1853, F.552, Gloucestershire County Record Office. 40 Neville M. Goodman, International Health Organizations

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