Penicillin: Triumph and Tragedy

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Overview

Penicillin is the drug of the twentieth century. It was the first of the antibiotics that, for decades after the Second World War, underpinned a popular belief that infectious disease had at last met its match. With the emergence of 'superbugs' in recent decades these hopes have faded. Across the world, we are warned that widespread antibiotic abuse will inexorably erode the drugs' efficacy and our own earlier confidence in them.

Penicillin pulls these different but conjoined stories into a compelling narrative spanning the second half of the twentieth century. Using a wealth of new research, Robert Bud sets the discovery and use of penicillin in the broader context of social and cultural change across the world. He examines the drug's critical contributions to medicine and agriculture, and he investigates the global spread of resistant bacteria as antibiotic use continues to rise. Clearly written and highly topical, his book will be of great interest to historians, scientists, and anyone wishing to understand penicillin's seismic impact on modern life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This extremely well-written and exhaustively researched book is invaluable in understanding the story of penicillin and its cohorts as set against an ever-changing world social and economic order. It is worthy of the widest possible readership. Highly recommended."--I. Richman, Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199254064
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/29/2007
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
1. Illness, drugs and wonder drugs before penicillin
2. Penicillin from organised science
3. Creating the brand in the era of propaganda
4. Making penicillin across the world
5. The carefree culture and the third industrial revolution
6. Fighting resistance with technology
7. Doctors, patients and the brand
8. Animals, resistance and committees
9. In face of catastrophe
Conclusion

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