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The Cholera Years

The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866

Cholera was the classic epidemic disease of the nineteenth century, as the plague had been for the fourteenth. Its defeat was a reflection not only of progress in medical knowledge but of enduring changes in American social thought. Rosenberg has focused his study on New York City, the most highly developed center of this new society. Carefully documented, full of descriptive detail, yet written with an urgent sense of the drama of the epidemic years, this narrative is as absorbing for general audiences as it is for the medical historian. In a new Afterword, Rosenberg discusses changes in historical method and concerns since the original publication of The Cholera Years.

"A major work of interpretation of medical and social thought . . . this volume is also to be commended for its skillful, absorbing presentation of the background and the effects of this dread disease."—I.B. Cohen, New York Times

"The Cholera Years is a masterful analysis of the moral and social interest attached to epidemic disease, providing generally applicable insights into how the connections between social change, changes in knowledge and changes in technical practice may be conceived."—Steven Shapin, Times Literary Supplement

"In a way that is all too rarely done, Rosenberg has skillfully interwoven medical, social, and intellectual history to show how medicine and society interacted and changed during the 19th century. The history of medicine here takes its rightful place in the tapestry of human history."—John B. Blake, Science

276 pages | 5.20 x 7.90 | © 1962, 1987

History: American History


Table of Contents

Part 1: 1832
I. The Epidemic: 1832
II. God’s Justice?
III. Or Man’s Injustice?
IV. The Medical Profession I
V. Aldermen and Cholera
Part 2: 1849
VI. The Epidemic: 1849
VII. Religion, Science, and Progress
VIII. The Nature of Poverty and the Prevention of Disease
IX. The Medical Profession II
Part 3: 1866
X. America After the War
XI. The Metropolitan Board of Health
XII. The Gospel of Public Health
XIII. Conclusion: The Way We Live Now
Afterword, 1987
Annotated Bibliography

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