Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present

Cover of the book titled "Epidemics and Society."

Frank M. Snowden, the Andrew Downey Orrick Professor Emeritus of History

(Yale University Press)

This exploration of the impact of epidemic diseases looks at how mass infectious outbreaks have shaped society, from the Black Death to today. Frank M. Snowden reveals the ways that diseases have not only influenced medical science and public health, but also transformed the arts, religion, intellectual history, and warfare.

A multidisciplinary and comparative investigation of the medical and social history of the major epidemics, this volume touches on themes such as the evolution of medical therapy, plague literature, poverty, the environment, and mass hysteria. In addition to providing historical perspective on diseases such as smallpox, cholera, and tuberculosis, Snowden examines the fallout from recent epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, SARS, and Ebola and the question of the world’s preparedness for the next generation of diseases.

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