Monday, September 14, 2015

A Short History of Disease

A Short History of Disease by Sean Martin
Oldcastle Books: 9/15/15
eBook review copy; 320 pages
ISBN-13: 9781843444190

A Short History of Disease by Sean Martin is a very highly recommended concise, easy to read history that presents a good overview of infectious and non-infectious diseases.  

The book begins with definitions and origins and then is divided up by time periods, from prehistory to modern times. "Analyzing case studies including the Black Death, Spanish Flu, cholera, leprosy, syphilis, cancer, and Ebola, this book systematically maps the development of trends and the latest research on disease into a concise and enlightening timeline." Naturally anything with such a broad scope is not going to contain an exhaustive amount of information covering every faucet of every disease. It does have a nice balance of history and diseases, including how society has handled them over the decades - and spread them.

Contents include: Introduction: Definitions, Origins; Chapter One: Prehistory; Chapter Two: Antiquity; Chapter Three: The Dark and Middle Ages; Chapter Four: The New World; Chapter Five: Early Modern to 1900; Chapter Six: The Twentieth Century; Chapter Seven: New Diseases; Notes, Glossary of Diseases, Bibliography, and Index. 

I'll freely admit that I have a fondness for books on diseases and outbreaks of various epidemics or pandemics, so this accessible survey of diseases is right up my alley. I thought Martin did an excellent job presenting the history of diseases in a way that doesn't seem too daunting or overwhelming while including a wealth of pertinent information. As is also my wont, I was thrilled to see that A Short History of Disease includes notes, a bibliography, and index.  I really liked the inclusion of a  glossary of diseases which I think could be helpful for the novice.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Oldcastle Books for review purposes.

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