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From The CriticsReviewer: J. Thomas Pierce, MBBS PhD(Navy Environmental Health Center)
Description: This book traces the theme of air and health from ancient civilizations to the present time. Professor Kessel explores the changing concepts of air and health alongside historical developments in public health, and critically examines contemporary problems of a scientific and philosophical nature.
Purpose: The author delicately intertwines the themes of air and health in order to explore philosophical issues relevant to contemporary public health.
Audience: This book will be of interest to those working or studying in public and environmental health, the history of medicine, environmental philosophy, and medical ethics.
Features: Part I surveys air and health in early civilizations and considers the nineteenth-century debates surrounding miasma and evolution. Part II explores the history of smoke pollution and health. Part III examines philosophical issues surrounding air pollution epidemiology, while Part IV looks at climate change and ethical frameworks in public health.
Assessment: This book is what I would term a bridge volume. From the Greeks to Locke and Kant, it will allow those with a philosophical bent to better explore environmentalism. The same bridge allows environmentalists a better philosophical underpinning. Professor Kessel is an author who chooses to "digress importantly." I applaud him for having the courage to do so. His contention that climate change is the fourth conception of air and health is particularly revealing. Tightly written, this book will likely not sell thousands, but there are few books I like as well.