Encyclopedia of Pestilence, Pandemics, and Plagues
by Joseph P. Byrne, Editor
September 2008, 920pp, 7x10
2 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-34101-4
$201, £155, 175€, A276
eBook Available: 978-1-57356-959-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

A uniquely interdisciplinary look at health, disease, treatment, and plagues throughout human history.

Editor Joseph P. Byrne, together with an advisory board of specialists and over 100 scholars, research scientists, and medical practitioners from 13 countries, has produced a uniquely interdisciplinary treatment of the ways in which diseases pestilence, and plagues have affected human life.

From the Athenian flu pandemic to the Black Death to AIDS, this extensive two-volume set offers a sociocultural, historical, and medical look at infectious diseases and their place in human history from Neolithic times to the present.

Nearly 300 entries cover individual diseases (such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, Ebola, and SARS); major epidemics (such as the Black Death, 16th-century syphilis, cholera in the nineteenth century, and the Spanish Flu of 1918-19); environmental factors (such as ecology, travel, poverty, wealth, slavery, and war); and historical and cultural effects of disease (such as the relationship of Romanticism to Tuberculosis, the closing of London theaters during plague epidemics, and the effect of venereal disease on social reform). Primary source sidebars, over 70 illustrations, a glossary, and an extensive print and nonprint bibliography round out the work.


Editors' Choice, 2009—Booklist, January 1, 2010


"BOTTOM LINE: A useful resource, especially for those trying to learn about the cultural issues like news reporting on epidemic disease or societal reactions to leprosy, this well-written work would be a good starting point for research. ...Recommended for academic libraries as well as high school libraries with decent budgets."—Library Journal, February 1, 2009

"Threats to human life invariably arouse public interest. Written for the nonspecialist, Encyclopedia of Pestilence, Pandemics, and Plagues covers the medical, cultural, sociological, and historical aspects of infectious diseases from prehistoric times to the present. About 300 articles, authored and signed by subject specialists, present an authoritative, often-engaging overview of diseases of consequence to humankind worldwide. ...This work provides some fascinating background material on human diseases: ...Encyclopedia of Pestilence, Pandemics, and Plagues, notable for authoritative content on a topic of broad appeal, is highly recommended for public, special, and academic libraries.' "—Booklist, Starred Review, April 1, 2009

"The work covers individual diseases such as HIV/AIDS, cholera, yellow fever, and SARS; epidemics like the bubonic plague in medieval Europe, 16th-century syphilis, and the 29th-century influenza pandemic; and environmental factors, including travel, poverty, slavery, and war. It also discusses the sociocultural and historical effects of disease, such as the relationship between the Black Death and late medieval Christianity; representations of disease in modern literature; and the relationship between sexually transmitted diseases and social reform. This work will be particularly useful research aid for advance high school or college students. Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates and general readers."—Choice, April 1, 2009

"This comprehensive reference goes far beyond mere events and dates but also details the public health costs of such social constructs as capitalism, colonialism, and medical ethics. Byrne (medieval and early modern history, Belmont U.) and his contributors cover everything from AIDS to yellow fever, and include the pioneers of research in infectious diseases, biological warfare, the effects of demographics, medical theories from the West and Asia, health agencies and conventions, diseases based on diet or lack thereof, treatment facilities past and present, the roles of sexuality and gender, pharmacology, and the effects of inoculation on various pandemics."—SciTech Book News, March 1, 2009

"The Encyclopedia of Pestilence, Pandemics, and Plagues is a suitable acquisition for colleges and larger public audiences."—Catholic Library World, September 1, 2009

"[William Osler's Principles and Practice of Medicine]was one of the last successful single-author surveys of medicine, and it helped inspire the Rockefeller Foundation. . . to invest money in helping extend the diagnostic advances which Osler lauded into the therapeutic ones he noted to be lacking. Byrne's encyclopedia follows on from this tradition, albeit with an infectious focus. It is packed with enough good writing to make it happily respectable." —Times Literary Supplement, May 18, 2009
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