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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: James C. Torner, PhD, MS (University of Iowa College of Public Health)
Description: This is a compilation of historical summaries of the advances in epidemiology in the 20th century by those who contributed to them. It takes a broad view with an emphasis on international epidemiology. This collection is a unique, comprehensive historical view that is not found anywhere else.
Purpose: The book brings together several leading experts. The goal of the book is to identify the advances in epidemiology as described by those involved. The number and quality of authors is outstanding. More subjects could have been included, but only with expansion beyond the feasibility of a book. This book has no equal.
Audience: The audience is scholars in epidemiology, students in epidemiology, and those interested in the advances of public health science.
Features: The first of the book's five sections focuses on history, from nineteenth century ideas to twentieth century advances. The fifth chapter relates the past to the present and the current focus of global health on disability. This provides an overview of epidemiological contribution to public health. The second section examines the development of knowledge in disease-specific epidemiology for both chronic and acute diseases. It relates the changing ideas and studies crucial to their evaluation. The third section takes a domain specific view. The perspectives of the chapter authors provide insight into the historical aspects of advances in their areas. The fourth section includes assessments of the development of theory and methods in epidemiology, but analytical contributions are not given as much attention as needed. The last section looks at advances in different parts of the world, providing a useful contrast in development based upon public health needs and organization.
Assessment: This book needs to be in every academic library and on every scholar's shelf. It is a unique contribution only discussed in isolated chapters of domain-specific books. It provides insight by major contributors to the field. Some of the chapters are more intrinsic and some take a broader view. The styles vary by author, but the thoughts and concepts are apparent. The beginning of each chapter is a short section on how each author developed and established their career in epidemiology. This is a great summary of the field.