Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet
S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University
of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.
"It is seldom recognized . . . that each type of society has diseases
peculiar to itself—indeed, that each civilization creates its own diseases."
With these words from biologist and historian René Dubos, Gerald Grob
begins his history of disease in America. Grob analyzes the diseases of the
many different Americas that have existed in the country's past and present.
Using an ecological and evolutionary approach, his description is rich with
awareness of the factors that created different health environments in colonial
New England, the antebellum South, the Midwestern frontier, and the raw cities
of the industrial revolution. Grob defines his subject matter broadly to include
not only infectious fevers but illness from environmental toxins, cancers,
heart disease, and malnutrition as well. Interwoven with the accounts of disease
are the political and medical responses to them.
Margaret Humphreys. HistoryHistory. JAMA. 2003;289(20):2726. doi:10.1001/jama.289.20.2726-a