White Death : A History of Tuberculosis

Overview

The victims of tuberculosis (usually known as consumption) included not only Keats, The Brontës, Chopin and Chekhov, but members of almost every family. It was a killer on a huge scale.

The White Death is an outstanding history of tuberculosis. Thomas Dormandy's engrossing account of the search for a cure is complemented by a description of its complex natural history and by portraits of individual sufferers, including writers, artists, and musicians, whose lives and work ...

See more details below
This Paperback (New Edition) is Not Available through BN.com
Sending request ...

Overview

The victims of tuberculosis (usually known as consumption) included not only Keats, The Brontës, Chopin and Chekhov, but members of almost every family. It was a killer on a huge scale.

The White Death is an outstanding history of tuberculosis. Thomas Dormandy's engrossing account of the search for a cure is complemented by a description of its complex natural history and by portraits of individual sufferers, including writers, artists, and musicians, whose lives and work were shaped (and often tragically curtailed) by the disease. But, tuberculosis is not just a disease of the past. In many parts of the world it is still a bigger killer than AIDS, while in America and Europe drug-resistant strains threaten its resurgence.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the History of Medicine
General readers will find much of interest in Dormandy's stories and anecdotes.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Accessible scientific and sociological history are combined by Dormandy, a consultant pathologist in London, in this account of a tenacious disease that has claimed victims from ancient Egypt to 1990s New York City. Focusing mostly on western Europe and the U.S., Dormandy vividly details the long struggle against tuberculosis. He takes readers through the high points of its history--from the discovery in 1882, by German physician Robert Koch, of the tubercle bacillus through the legendary tubercular deaths of writers, musicians and artists like Katherine Mansfield, George Orwell, D.H. Lawrence and Modigliani. He notes that before 1882, most observers thought infection was caused by a genetic predisposition, and doctors often treated it with measures such as bloodletting (which, Dormandy argues, hastened the deaths of famous sufferers like poet John Keats). Then he follows the disease as it made its way through crowded, poverty-stricken urban areas. He discusses the growth of the 19th century's sanatorium movement, examines the romantic, creative aura that was associated with it, and takes note of the post-WWII discovery and use of antibiotics, which began to effect dramatic cures. Dormandy points his research at present-day medical struggles--the global HIV epidemic, he notes, has combined with the emergence of multi-drug resistance to make tuberculosis, once thought almost eradicated, a threat to worldwide health again. Prodigious research and an engaging anecdotal style blend to make this a fascinating foray into the history of medicine. Illustrations and b&w photos. Editor, Niko Pfund. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
British pathologist Dormandy weaves together cultural and medical history with the skill of a learned, witty, and humane scholar. Exhaustively researched and documented, his book describes the havoc wreaked by tuberculosis over millennia--which, horrifyingly, was sometimes inflicted by physicians themselves. Happily, the search for a cure led also to significant medical innovations, including the stethoscope, antibiotics, and X-rays. More mundane advances, including park benches, bobbed hair, and an end to ornate Victorian d cor, also emerged, as an appalling number of citizens of all social classes sought cures in sanatoria, where carefully calibrated exercise was a standard prescription and dust was relentlessly suppressed. Dormandy illuminates his medical history through the stories of dozens of artists and writers, from Keats and Chopin to Orwell, D.H. Lawrence, and Vivien Leigh, whose lives were tragically shortened before effective antibiotics became available in the 1940s and 1950s. Sadly, however, TB's protean bacteria quickly began to mutate into drug-resistant strains, and the search for a permanent cure or effective vaccine continues. Strongly recommended for serious readers in all libraries.--Kathleen Arsenault, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Choice
…compelling because of its emphasis on people: some common folk, many celebrities, all their fates leveled by tuberculosis…Dormandy is a master of the anecdote and he is able to use them to move his narrative along. Through anecdotes, we learn of the rise and fall of the tuberculosis sanatorium and the promise of modern medicine. Based on extensive research and well written, his is an exemplar of modern medical history, and it should be valuable to the general reader as well as the specialist and the practitioner.--Choice
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756790776
  • Publisher: DIANE Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 9/30/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition

Meet the Author

Thomas Dormandy, a physician and writer, is the author of Old Masters: Great Artists in Old Age.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1 The Mists of History 1
2 Half in Love with Easeful Death 13
3 The Sounds of Tuberculosis 27
4 The Diathesis 41
5 Three Heretics 51
6 Sacrifice and Atonement 61
7 The Poor 73
8 The Romantic Image 85
9 Staying at Home 101
10 Seeking the Sun 105
11 Going West 117
12 The Cause 127
13 Tuberculin 139
14 Rest and Fresh Air 147
15 Under English Skies 161
16 Saranac Lake and Riverside 173
17 Doctor, Patient, Writer 187
18 Advances 199
19 The New Pathology 209
20 Blip 223
21 Peacetime Aetiologies 235
22 Collapse Therapy 249
23 Gold Rush 265
24 Quacks 273
25 The Undying Man 285
26 Private Charity: Public Health 297
27 A Model Patient 313
28 Workshops and Village Settlements 321
29 Milk 329
30 Vaccines 339
31 The Surgeon Cometh 351
32 Dawn 361
33 An Imperfect Civilisation 377
Bibliography 393
Index 405
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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

Reminder:

  • - 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)