Disease and Civilization
The Cholera in Paris, 1832
Disease and Civilization explores the scientific and political ramifications of the great cholera epidemic of 1832, showing how its course and its conceptualization were affected by the social power relations of the time. The epidemic which claimed the lives of 18,000 people in Paris alone, was a watershed in the history of medicine: In France, it shook the complacency of a medical establishment that thought it had the means to prevent any onslaught and led to a revolution in the concept of public health.
Delaporte's learned and exhaustive readings of the medical texts brim with subtle observations and new insights, and his treatment of the cultural and political implications of medical thinking should prove useful to all European historians of this period. In Delaporte's capable hands, Foucault's methods come very close to fulfilling their considerable potential as history and criticism.
Robert A. Nye
American Historical Review