Malaria: Poverty, Race, and Public Health in the United States

Malaria: Poverty, Race, and Public Health in the United States

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by Margaret Humphreys
     
 

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In Malaria: Poverty, Race, and Public Health in the United States, Margaret Humphreys presents the first book-length account of the parasitic, insect-borne disease that has infected millions and influenced settlement patterns, economic development, and the quality of life at every level of American society, especially in the south.

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Overview

In Malaria: Poverty, Race, and Public Health in the United States, Margaret Humphreys presents the first book-length account of the parasitic, insect-borne disease that has infected millions and influenced settlement patterns, economic development, and the quality of life at every level of American society, especially in the south.

Humphreys approaches malaria from three perspectives: the parasite's biological history, the medical response to it, and the patient's experience of the disease. It addresses numerous questions including how the parasite thrives and eventually becomes vulnerable, how professionals came to know about the parasite and learned how to fight them, and how people view the disease and came to the point where they could understand and support the struggle against it.

In addition Malaria: Poverty, Race, and Public Health in the United States argues that malaria control was central to the evolution of local and federal intervention in public health, and demonstrates the complex interaction between poverty, race, and geography in determining the fate of malaria.

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Editorial Reviews

Todd L. Savitt
Humphreys, trained both as a physician and a historian, is uniquely qualified to tell the story of malaria in the United States. She uses her medical knowledge and her understanding of the social history of the United States, particularly of the South, to reveal malaria's previously unexplored American career. It is a story containing some unexpected twists that Humphreys reveals with thoughtfulness, elegance, and wit. She allows readers to see malaria's history from the various perspectives of physicians, patients, communities, and public health workers.
Randall M. Packard
Margaret Humphrey's eminently readable and convincing history of malaria in the United States follows in the tradition of Erwin H. Ackerknecht's classic study, completing the story that work began by describing malaria's last stand in the southeastern United States and by carefully analyzing the factors which let to its final demise. More than an exercise in historical epidemiology, this book offers fascinating insights into scientific and popular ideas concerning disease and healing.
Victoria Harden
Margaret Humphreys has produced a history of malaria in the United States that should stand as the definitive study for many years.
Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Srijana M. Bajracharya, PhD, CHES (Ithaca College)
Description: This historical analysis of malaria in the United States includes the etiology of malaria, its effects on the American people, and the response of health professionals to this disease. The author presents a detailed description of the factors that may have been crucial to the persistence as well as the demise of the disease through the past few centuries.
Purpose: The main purpose of this book is to carry out an in-depth dialogue on the mystery of malaria and its existence in some parts of the world and disappearance in another based on the historical facts. This is a valuable resource for those who are working in the field.
Audience: The intended audience is the group of professionals who are learning or working on various issues regarding malaria around the world. Students as well as practitioners can take advantage of this valuable information. The author is a credible authority on the subject.
Features: The author describes the biological manifestation of the disease, its effects on a particular group of people, and the response of medical and public health communities to the disease. There are seven chapters with comprehensive discussion of the step-by-step progression of the disease characterized fascinatingly as, "Malaria's curious career." It starts with the biology and its course in the American colonies as a preeminent frontier disease. Subsequent chapters continue with the description of medical discovery and the natural as well as scientific measures for its control. The detailed chronicle includes the description of critical factors such as socioeconomics, geography, and politics. The analysis of factors responsible for its persistence and disappearance gives valuable insights that could be used to control the disease around the world. The author has explored an unlimited amount of resources to elicit as much information as possible with vivid cartoons and pictures from the history. Although public health had an important role, the author concludes her story by saying that social construction factors had more bearing in controlling malaria in the United States than public health efforts.
Assessment: At present, the utility of this book may not be crucial in the United States. However, the insight that the history provides has enormous value for global health. This is the first time I had a chance to review a book on the historical perspectives of a disease. Despite the lack of sophisticated visuals such as graphs and tables with detailed hard data, the author has done an excellent job of making the description as explicit and thorough as possible and interesting for the reader.
Journal of Southern History - Kenneth F. Kiple

This is a fresh (and plausible) explanation for the disappearance of another southern germ of laziness, and it is presented in a study that does a fine job of packaging its findings within a richly documented historical context.

Times Literary Supplement - W.F. Bynum

Margaret Humphrey's monograph on malaria in America has a strong storyline and a well-articulated thesis. It combines modern knowledge of malaria transmission and the genetic basis of resistance with a sound appreciation of the social, geographical and cultural nuances of the disease in American history.

Nature Medicine - Allan Saul

A fascinating story of the spread of malaria through the USA following its introduction in the 17th century, through its greatest geographical coverage in the 19th century.

Southern Medical Journal - Ronald C.HamdyMDFRCPFACP

[ Malaria] is a masterpiece and is recommended reading for anyone involved in or interested in health care.

American Historical Review - Elizabeth Fee

A complex and fascinating story of the social history of malaria.

Medical History

Gracefully written, perceptive, and well-documented, it will make historians of medicine, public health, and the social history of the American South grateful for her efforts.

Journal of the History of Medicine - Leo B. Slater

Accessible to a wide audience. A great breadth and depth of research underpins each chapter.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801875991
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
04/30/2003
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Randall M. Packard

Margaret Humphrey's eminently readable and convincing history of malaria in the United States follows in the tradition of Erwin H. Ackerknecht's classic study, completing the story that work began by describing malaria's last stand in the southeastern United States and by carefully analyzing the factors which let to its final demise. More than an exercise in historical epidemiology, this book offers fascinating insights into scientific and popular ideas concerning disease and healing.

Todd L. Savitt

Humphreys, trained both as a physician and a historian, is uniquely qualified to tell the story of malaria in the United States. She uses her medical knowledge and her understanding of the social history of the United States, particularly of the South, to reveal malaria's previously unexplored American career. It is a story containing some unexpected twists that Humphreys reveals with thoughtfulness, elegance, and wit. She allows readers to see malaria's history from the various perspectives of physicians, patients, communities, and public health workers.

Read More

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