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The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866 2nd Edition
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The Cholera Years is an interesting and easy to read book. One of its strengths lies in its readability and in how it engages the reader through primary sources. Historical books that tell stories and relate true life accounts and words are more interesting than those that simply move from one fact to the next. Also, Rosenberg is very organized in his presentation of information. The sections, chopped up by cholera year, follow the same patterns as far as how information is addressed. As a result, though we are reading from one year to the next, the progressions of society and thought are easy to follow and connect together. It actually made more sense this way than if Rosenberg had approached the book topically, which would have jumped around and only confused. Unfortunately, as a weakness, Rosenberg is very repetitive.Read more ›
The symptoms of cholera are characteristic. The patient experiences a sudden onset of violet vomiting, severe cramps, and diarrhea. Patients become dehydrated and often are pale and cold. Many die rapidly often within 24-hrs. The disease is thought to have originated in India. Hence, the name Asian cholera. The epidemics traveled slowly, usually with considerable forewarning. Quarantine was the usual means to delay its spread, but this method usually failed.
Smallpox, the scourge of the eighteenth century had been conquered with vaccination, but cholera posed frightening new challenges. Germ theory would arrive only in the 1850s, and be accepted only in the 1890s. Medical practice was primitive. Bleeding was still a common treatment. Diseases were poorly understood. Hospitals were considered death wards for the poor; nursing an unclean profession.
The cause of cholera was widely debated. Even the idea the disease was contagious was uncertain. Were the victims both exposed to the same cause, or did one catch the disease from the other? The poor living in the slums of the cities were often the victims. This was not a disease of the upper classes, so much so that if one fell to the disease, the cause was "previous indiscretions." Not surprisingly in 1849 in New York, most victims were Irish and Catholic.
Slum dwellers often lacked clean drinking water and relied on privies rather than sewers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The themes of this books focus the reader on how cholera was an impetus for societal change (when it comes to the role of government in overall well being) and how its appearance... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jamie Grasing
A good book for learning about cholera. I have done sanitation work in Haiti and I found this book useful in learning about the phenomenon of cholera.Published 16 months ago by Joseph Jenkins
I found this book a very nice review of cholera in the US in the 19th century. My only quibble is that the author didn't really spend time between the '32 and '49 and the the '49... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Patricia
Very interesting read on the history of cholera in the US. It is not a page-turner but doesn't become boring or repetitive either.Published on December 9, 2013 by Charlotte tamason
Love all the details. A very compelling narrative about the development of city sanitation and disease control. Read morePublished on March 6, 2013 by hooked
For history majors, definitely not for entertainment. The book should have some interesting characters. Read about 1/4 of the book.Published on December 15, 2012 by Patricia J. Monahan
This book was required reading for school but read like a novel and I actually quite enjoyed it. It was a nice break from the usual school readings.Published on December 8, 2012 by Sara Nichols