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From the Publisher
"R. Alton Lee has written a detailed account of the professional life of a pioneer in public health, Dr. Samuel J. Grumbine. Lee not only tells the story of a life's work but shows that the events Grumbine initiated and witnessed were the roots of public health and continue to give the field direction and meaning….Lee has given us far more than a story of a rural primary care physician who succeeded on larger platforms. Grumbine used his own experience as a rural practitioner to convince President Hoover to advocate federal support for local health units, raising public health to new importance at a pivotal time."
Journal of the American Medical Association
"Lee revisits Kansas doctor Samuel J. Crumbine and his pioneering educational campaign for public health from the post-Civil War era to the 1950s. Inspired by the Progressive reform spirit of the time, Dr. Crumbine and the Kansas Department of Health paved a way to promote pure water and food and sanitary reforms against public drinking cups and towels, rats and flies, and spitting. Despite political turmoil, the Crumbine team continued to strengthen the medical profession by instructing child hygiene programs (Warren Car) and leading national battles against tuberculosis and venereal diseases. Lee's major contribution is spotlighting a scarcely studied topic in mainstream academia: western frontier medical practices and the health reform movement disseminating the latest germ theory to the public…. Recommended. General and undergraduate collections."
"[M]eticulously documented chronicle of Samuel Crumbine's life."
Great Plains Research
"Lee laments that Crumbine, who was recognized by contemporaries as a visionary, is now largley forgotten. Lee's book aims to bring the Kansas doctor out of the shadows by highlighting his many contributions in the fight against disease, contaminants, ignorance, and quackery….Lee places Crumbine's career withing the larger context of progressives' efforts to reform public health at the turn of the century….How this largely forgotten Kansas doctor helped create this system is a fascinating story."
"The first decade of the twentieth century saw profound changes in both the scientific bases and the institutional forms of the public health profession….From Snake Oil to Medicine tells the story of those changes through a biography of Samuel Crumbine….The focus on Kansas is welcome. Most histories of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century public health….have focused on the urban Northeast….Lee has a good eye for colorful details and telling anecdotes. The book offers many entertaining episodes that give texture to the work of officials."
Journal of American History
"This volume merits a large audience for its revealing insights into a variety of medical topics and public health issues. The chapters are long and the writing stately, if not sprightly, but the reader needs to continue on for the insights to be gained."