A History of Infectious Diseases and the Microbial World
by Lois N. Magner
April 2009, 225pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-99504-1
$55, £41, 46€, A79
eBook Available: 978-0-275-99505-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Magner discusses the history behind major infectious diseases, how they are spread, and how to treat them.

A History of Infectious Diseases and the Microbial World offers readers answers to specific questions, as well as the challenge of a narrative that will stimulate their curiosity and encourage them to ask questions about the theory, practice, and assumptions of modern medicine.

This work provides a broad introductory overview of the history of major infectious diseases, including their impact on different populations, the recognition of specific causative agents, and the development of methods used to prevent, control, and treat them. By stressing the major themes in the history of disease, this book allows readers to relate modern concerns to historical materials. It places modern developments concerning infectious diseases within their historical context, illuminating the relationships between patterns of disease and social, cultural, political, and economic factors.

Upon completing this volume, readers will be prepared to answer contemporary questions concerning the threat of newly-emerging infectious diseases, potentially devastating pandemics, and the threat of bioterrorism. One will gain a precise understanding of the nature of different kinds of pathogens, the unique mechanisms behind disease transmission, and the means used to control, prevent, and treat infectious disease. Although only a few of these deadly illnesses can be addressed in detail, those that are discussed include: malaria, leprosy, bubonic plague, tuberculosis, syphilis, diphtheria, cholera, yellow fever, poliomyelitis, HIV/AIDS, and influenza.

Lois N. Magner is Professor Emerita at Purdue University. She is the author of Doctors, Nurses, and Medical Practitioners: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook (Greenwood Press, 1998) , A History of Medicine. Second Edition, Revised and Expanded (2005), and A History of the Life Sciences. Third Edition, Revised and Expanded (2002).


"In this excellent and timely volume in the series 'Healing Society: Disease, Medicine, and History,' Magner (emer., Purdue) illuminatingly reviews infectious diseases and the microbial world throughout history. The author helpfully positions disease as contextualized within its social history rather than divorced from it. . . . Although her prose is always solidly expressed in an academic manner, Magner's book is accessible to the informed and motivated layperson. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers." —Choice, October 1, 2009
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