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Charles Nicolle, Pasteur's Imperial Missionary (Rochester Studies in Medical History) Paperback – April 15, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


Kim Pelis has written a magesterial biography of Charles Nicolle, the Nobel prize-winning microbiologist who demonstrated the louse-borne transmission of one of humankind's most dreaded scourges: typhus fever. But this beautifully written book covers so much more than Nicolle's exemplary scientific life. Indeed, it is a superb and scholarly exploration of late nineteenth and early twentieth century medicine, colonialism, international public health, and the social and cultural history of disease. --Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., George E. Wantz Professor of the History of Medicine, University of Michigan, author of When Germs Travel Charles Nicolle was one of the most complex and creative of Pasteur's disciples. His combination as scientist, clinician, administrator, novelist, philosopher, and tortured individual makes him a fascinating man. Kim Pelis has done justice to all facets of Nicolle's life and work. This is a gem of a book. --W. F. Bynum, M.D, Ph.D, FRCP, Professor Emeritus of History of Medicine, University College London There was no shortage of competition in the hunt for the cause of typhus, and Nicolle's claim to have discovered the louse as the agent of transmission did not go uncontested. Few important discoveries do. Taking us through the socio-scientific history of typhus, Pelis adroitly details how Nicolle and his close collaborator, Ernest Conseil (director of public health in Tunis), arrived at their discovery. H-FRANCE, January 2007

About the Author

Now working full time for the NIH as a researcher/historian, 7/07. Kim Pelis is visiting assistant professor of history at the University of Notre Dame.


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Product Details

  • Series: Rochester Studies in Medical History
  • Paperback: 418 pages
  • Publisher: BOYE6; 1 edition (April 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580464653
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580464659
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,644,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By History professor on April 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The book is beautifully written, first of all. Dr. Pelis is able to do for medical biography what few others are able to and that is contextualize the person she's writing about not just in his own time and place but in his intellectual field as well (and the book contains an excellent history of the field of disease research to boot). The book can be read by anyone, not just specialists in the history of medicine - it holds something for doctors, anthropologists, various kinds of historians, as well as the well-read layperson. The book is not bogged down in technical jargon, but it was clearly written by a scholar who knows her literature as well as her history. Pelis really does justice to this complex character and gives more than just the tired old "brilliant but tortured man" trope. Nicolle's letters really allow Pelis to bring him to life and despite his personal flaws, one comes away from the book in awe of and with respect for the man who did so much for the world, yet still felt he was a failure in the end.
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Charles Nicolle, Pasteur's Imperial Missionary (Rochester Studies in Medical History)
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