Epidemic Invasions: Yellow Fever and the Limits of Cuban Independence, 1878-1930

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $11.55
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 55%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $11.55   
  • New (4) from $22.10   
  • Used (5) from $11.55   


In the early fall of 1897, yellow fever shuttered businesses, paralyzed trade, and caused tens of thousand of people living in the southern United States to abandon their homes and flee for their lives. Originating in Cuba, the deadly plague inspired disease-control measures that not only protected U.S. trade interests but also justified the political and economic domination of the island nation from which the pestilence came. By focusing on yellow fever, Epidemic Invasions uncovers for the first time how the devastating power of this virus profoundly shaped the relationship between the two countries.

Yellow fever in Cuba, Mariola Espinosa demonstrates, motivated the United States to declare war against Spain in 1898, and, after the war was won and the disease eradicated, the United States demanded that Cuba pledge in its new constitution to maintain the sanitation standards established during the occupation. By situating the history of the fight against yellow fever within its political, military, and economic context, Espinosa reveals that the U.S. program of sanitation and disease control in Cuba was not a charitable endeavor. Instead, she shows that it was an exercise in colonial public health that served to eliminate threats to the continued expansion of U.S. influence in the world.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Michael Worboys
Epidemic Invasions revolutionizes our understanding of Cuban-U.S affairs in the decades around 1900, showing the central place of public health campaigns in their difficult relationship. Controlling yellow fever in Havana became a priority because of the threat posed to the American South and, with the opening of the Panama Canal, to wider inter-American trade. However, Mariola Espinosa does not just tell a story of quarantines and sanitation; she also throws important new light on the politics of research and ‘discovery,’ reassessing the priority dispute between Carlos Finlay and Walter Reed over the identification of the mosquito vector of yellow fever, and makes the case for previously unheralded Henry Rose Carter. Epidemic Invasions is essential reading for anyone interested in the international politics of public health, and is all the more pertinent in an era of possible global flu pandemics.”
Warwick Anderson
“A compelling study of the intimate connections of disease with colonialism and decolonization. With its sharp focus, Epidemic Invasions vividly illuminates the biological dimensions of U.S. imperialism and Cuban nationalism.”
Diego Armus
Epidemic Invasions is a convincing example of how productive the discussion can be of a disease when it is properly contextualized. Espinosa’s book is both a much needed addition to the history of U.S.-Cuban relations as well as an original—and at times very provocative—contribution to the history of the making of public health systems under colonial and neocolonial rules. Scholars will find in Epidemic Invasions the first book that brings a Latin American case to the late colonialism world historiography of disease. And undergraduate and graduate students will appreciate a direct, engaging, and very persuasive narrative.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226218120
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 486,395
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Mariola Espinosa is assistant professor of history and director of Latino and Latin American Studies at Southern Illinois University.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


1 Disease and Empire

2 The Pre-Occupation with Cuba                                                                                 

3 Fighting the Yellow Scourge: Initial Sanitation Reforms in Cuba

4 The Hunt for the Mosquito     

5 The Mosquito Threatens Independence

6 The Limits of Domination

7 Conclusions




Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)