The struggle against deadly microbes is endless. Diseases that have plagued human beings since ancient times still exist, new maladies make their way into the headlines, we are faced with vaccine shortages, and the threat of germ warfare has reemerged as a worldwide threat.In this riveting account, medical historian Howard Markel takes an eye-opening look at the fragility of the American public health system. He tells the distinctive stories of six epidemics-tuberculosis, bubonic plague, trachoma, typhus, cholera, and AIDS-to show how our chief defense against diseases from outside the United States has been to attempt to deny entry to carriers. He explains why this approach never worked, and makes clear that it is useless in today's world of bustling international travel and porous borders. Illuminating our foolhardy attempts at isolation and showing that globalization renders us all potential inhabitants of the so-called Hot Zone, Markel makes a compelling case for a globally funded public health program that could stop the spread of epidemics and safeguard the health of everyone on the planet.
In The White Plague, Ren and Jean Dubos argue that the great increase of tuberculosis was intimately connected with the rise of an industrial, urbanized society and-a much more controversial idea when this book first appeared forty years ago-that the progress of medical science had very little to do with the marked decline in tuberculosis in the twentieth century.
The White Plague has long been regarded as a classic in the social and environmental history of disease. This reprint of the 1952 edition features new introductory writings by two distinguished practitioners of the sociology and history of medicine. David Mechanic's foreword describes the personal and intellectual experience that shaped Ren Dubos's view of tuberculosis. Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz's historical introduction reexamines The White Plague in light of recent work on the social history of tuberculosis. Her thought-provoking essay pays particular attention to the broader cultural and medical assumptions about sickness and sick people that inform a society's approach to the conquest of disease.
Nortin Hadler's clearly reasoned argument surmounts the cacophony of the health care debate. Hadler urges everyone to ask health care providers how likely it is that proposed treatments will afford meaningful benefits and he teaches how to actively listen to the answer. Each chapter of Worried Sick is an object lesson on the uses and abuses of common offerings, from screening tests to medical and surgical interventions. By learning to distinguish good medical advice from persuasive medical marketing, consumers can make better decisions about their personal health care and use that wisdom to inform their perspectives on health-policy issues.
One of the most influential and creative scholars in medical anthropology takes stock of his recent intellectual odysseys in this collection of essays. Arthur Kleinman, an anthropologist and psychiatrist who has studied in Taiwan, China, and North America since 1968, draws upon his bicultural, multidisciplinary background to propose alternative strategies for thinking about how, in the postmodern world, the social and medical relate.
Writing at the Margin explores the border between medical and social problems, the boundary between health and social change. Kleinman studies the body as the mediator between individual and collective experience, finding that many health problems--for example the trauma of violence or depression in the course of chronic pain--are less individual medical problems than interpersonal experiences of social suffering. He argues for an ethnographic approach to moral practice in medicine, one that embraces the infrapolitical context of illness, the responses to it, the social institutions relating to it, and the way it is configured in medical ethics.
Previously published in various journals, these essays have been revised, updated, and brought together with an introduction, an essay on violence and the politics of post-traumatic stress disorder, and a new chapter that examines the contemporary ethnographic literature of medical anthropology.