by Catherine J. Kudlick, 293 pp, with illus, $40, ISBN 0-520-20273-2, Berkeley, Calif, University of California Press, 1996.
Few diseases have received as much attention from historians as cholera. More than the bubonic plague of the early modern period or the AIDS epidemic of our postmodern age, the cholera epidemics that appeared intermittently in Europe and North America during the last two thirds of the 19th century have been studied intensively, forming a body of scholarship that the author of this work characterizes punningly as an "epidemic of scholera." Undaunted by the accumulated histories of cholera over the past 35 years, including several studies of the Paris epidemic of 1832, Catherine Kudlick has not only added to historical knowledge and interpretation of this specific ailment, but she has presented a challenging, fresh methodology for situating epidemic disease in society and culture.
Exploiting the recurrent epidemics of cholera as windows into 19th century urban politics and society or catalysts for change, notably public health reform, has been a major
Gelfand T. Cholera in Post-Revolutionary Paris: A Cultural History. JAMA. 1997;277(1):83. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540250091046