Bourdelais covers heavily traversed grounds in public health history, though providing his own insights along the way.(Linda Bryder Health and History)
From the Back Cover
Justinian's Plague, the Black Death, the Great Plague, cholera, influenza, tuberculosis, AIDS―these diseases and others have devastated human lives and society, decimating populations, creating panic, and wrecking social and economic infrastructure. In Epidemics Laid Low epidemiologist and historian Patrice Bourdelais analyzes the history of such disease epidemics in Europe from the Middle Ages to the present. His captivating account describes how populations respond to crises of disease and how authorities deal with the devastation they bring.
Bourdelais discusses the successes of northern European countries in fighting and controlling infectious diseases and emphasizes, by comparison, the failures of the countries in the south. He links success to several factors: an ideology of progress, economic development, popular demands to improve public health, and investment in medical research. Bourdelais studies the social consequences of these policies, the changing as the tension mounts between advocates of individual freedom and advocates of collective interest.
Epidemics continue to threaten us today. What do our responses to these threats say about our priorities? Will the security of public health remain a privilege of a few powerful countries or will poorer countries benefit from the efforts of the rich to prevent the spread of disease inside their own borders?