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Books, Journals, New Media
May 28, 2003


Author Affiliations

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.

JAMA. 2003;289(20):2726. doi:10.1001/jama.289.20.2726-a

"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.

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