Barry Doyle’s new study addresses a subject area that has lately attracted much interest from social, political and medical historians. The reasons why Britain’s inter-war health services have become such a hot topic are not hard to discern.
Introducing a 1996 translation of Alain Corbin’s now seminal work on the history of scent, The Foul and the Fragrant, Roy Porter lamented that ‘today’s history comes deodorized’.(1) As Jonathan Reinarz shows in this historical synthesis of recent work on the history of smell, Porter’s complaint has since been enthusiastically answered.
Ten years after its publication, A History remains relevant. The epidemic continues to rage. The context of its historical and relational trajectories continues to shape both its evolution and the responses to it.
Randall Packard’s The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria, published in 2007, was a timely overview of the history of one of the most complex and ancient of all diseases. Indeed, Packard’s sub-title: ‘a short history of malaria’ is a modest one considering the depth and breadth of the range of topics relating to the history of malaria that Packard covers.