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A History of Imperial Tropical Medicine

$63.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in the History of Medicine

  • Date Published: December 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521530606

$ 63.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • The advent of tropical medicine was a direct consequence of European and American imperialism, when military personnel, colonial administrators, businessmen, and settlers encountered a new set of diseases endemic to the tropics. Professor Farley describes how governments and organizations in Britain, the British colonies, the United States, Central and South America, South Africa, China, and the World Health Organization faced one particular tropical disease, bilharzia or schistosomiasis. Bilharzia is caused by a species of blood vessel-inhabiting parasitic worms and today afflicts over 200 million people in seventy-four countries. Author Farley demonstrates that British and American imperial policies and attitudes largely determined the nature of tropical medicine. Western medical practitioners defined the type of medical system that was imposed on the indigenous populations; they dictated which diseases were important and worthy of study, which diseases were to be controlled, and which control methods were to be used. Historians, historians of medicine, parasitologists, and experts in tropical medicine will find this a fascinating study.

    Reviews & endorsements

    "...ought to be read, not just by historians and doctors as the blurb suggests, but also by those concerned with the future of populations and the planet." Anne Hardy, Times Higher Education Supplement

    "This fascinating work combines the history of scientific investigations of a major human worm parasite and the story of largely ineffectual efforts by Anglo-American imperial powers to eradicate the resulting disease....detailed and lively account...." Choice

    "Farley's fine book demonstrates that few areas of medical history are more relevant to present problems than is tropical medicine. This book deserves a wide readership among those interested in medical history, the history of tropical medicine and parasitology, and health care in the Third World." K. David Patterson, BHM

    "This very interesting book traces the history of the discovery of the disease; the best methods of control and prevention; and the extent to which financial support for research depended on different governments imperial role and ambitions. There are also interesting side lights on the interactions of the different research workers which indicate that human nature does not change." Gen. Pharmac.

    Farley has marshaled impressive amounts of data, and from them he has constructed a fascinating account....illustrates admirably the historiographic value of its approach...." Molly Sutphen, Isis

    "...well written, well organized, and generally accurate. I recommend it to those interested in the history of medicine in the tropics." Allen Cheever, Current Surgery

    " impressive example of interdisciplinary research. It will be welcomed by medical historians, as well as by those interested in the history of imperialism and international development." Randall Packard, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

    "Clearly written, Farley's book covers a broad canvas, including the American South, Central America, the Philippines, Rhodesia, South Africa, and China. Avoiding technical language that might drive the non-specialist away, he has taken care to obey the popular implications of his own argument. To make his imperialist critique, he has chosen an eminently suitable topic that never ceases to be interesting and illuminating." Diana Wylie, International Journal of African Historical Studies

    "Medical historians, especially those with an interest in tropical medicine, will find this text of enormous interest..." G.C. Cook, Journal of Infection

    "...compelling..." The Lancet

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521530606
    • length: 372 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 156 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of tables and figures
    1. Introduction
    Part I. The Imperial Approach (1898–World War II):
    2. 1898: a declaration of war
    3. 1898: another war, another continent
    4. Bilharzia (1850–1918): the Looss controversies
    5. The International Health Board
    6. Bilharzia: optimism in Egypt (1918–39)
    7. Into the 1930s: economics of disease
    8. The 1930s: empires in transition
    9. Bilharzia: World War II
    Part II. A Brief Interlude: Social Medicine:
    10. New ideas
    11. Bilharzia: pessimism in Egypt (1940–55)
    12. Bilharzia: victory in China?
    Part III. The Professional Approach (1950–1970s):
    13. The new British Empire: finding the experts
    14. South Africa (1950–60): social medicine versus scientific research
    15. Bilharzia: second to only one
    16. Bilharzia (1950–1970s): a strategic change
    17. Conclusion: the imperial triad

  • Author

    John Farley, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia

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