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Discovery of the Germ Twenty Years That Transformed the Way We Think about Disease

ISBN-10: 023113150X

ISBN-13: 9780231131506

Edition: 2003

Authors: John Waller

List price: $27.00
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Description:

From the time of Hippocrates to that of Louis Pasteur, the medical profession relied on plausible but almost wholly mistaken ideas about the causes of and best treatments for infectious illness. Bleeding, purging, and mysterious nostrums remained staple remedies, and surgeons, often wearing filthy butcher's aprons, blithely spread infection from patient to patient. Then between 1879 and 1900 came the germ revolution. After two decades of scientific virtuosity, outstanding feats of intellectual courage, bitter personal rivalries, and a large dose of good fortune, doctors came to realize infectious diseases are caused by microscopic organisms. The discovery of the germ led to safe surgery, large-scale vaccination programs, dramatic improvements in hygiene and sanitation, and the pasteurization of dairy products. Above all, it set the stage for the emergence of antibiotic medicine. John Waller provides insight into twenty years in the history of medicine that profoundly changed the way we view disease. He shows how the germ revolution was made possible not only by the risk taking and raw ambition of several brilliant late-century pioneers, but also by the groundwork -- including mistakes and near misses -- of earlier generations of scientists. Rich in human drama, The Discovery of the Germ charts how, why, and by whom germ theory was transformed from a hotly disputed speculation to a central tenet of modern medicine. It examines the ideas and experiments of the giants of microbiology, Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch, as well as less well known figures such as Casimir-Joseph Davaine, Waldemar Haffkine, and Almroth Wright.
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Book details

List price: $27.00
Copyright year: 2003
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 10/22/2003
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 200
Size: 4.75" wide x 7.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.550
Language: English

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements
Introduction: Revolutionary, by Any Standards
Before the Germ
The World According to William Brownrigg
The Germs of Revolution, 500 BC-1850 AD
Arsenals of Death
Contagious Effluvia
Leeuwenhoek's 'Little Animals'
Revolution in Paris
Dirt, Disease and Decay
The End of the Beginning
Cue, Louis Pasteur
Two Duels
The English Disciple
Worms, Chickens and Sheep
The Plight of the Silkworm
Anthrax
Koch's Postulates
1881: Potatoes and Postulates
The Four Big Ones, 1881-1899
The White Plague
Cholera, Suez and Pettenkofer
Pasteur's Gatekeeper
Typhoid Fever
Conclusion: A New Science
Bibliography and Further Reading