Death by Migration: Europe's Encounter with the Tropical World in the Nineteenth Century

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9780521389228: Death by Migration: Europe's Encounter with the Tropical World in the Nineteenth Century
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This book is a quantitative study of relocation costs among European soldiers in the tropics between about 1815 and 1914. This study, however, has broader implications. For Europe itself, this was the crucial century of the 'mortality revolution', with its profound influence on European and world demographic history. For the history of medicine, this was the transitional century between the kind of medicine that had been practiced in Europe since classical times and the kind of scientific medicine that would be spawned by the germ theory of disease. For Europe's global, political and military relations, this was the final period for the European conquest. For all these reasons, the relocation costs of this period have great bearing on human history.

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"Curtin has opened an important line of inquiry into the interpretation of imperial and military history. His work is at its most valuable where it touches precisely on these intersecting domains...Economic and imperial historians will value Curtin's comparisons between French and British colonies where sickness made mockery of the `white man's burden,' and sanitary engineering and pure water became, in Daniel Headrick's phrase, the principal 'tools of empire.' World historians of the caliber of McNeill and Crosby will welcome Curtin's exposition of a turning point in the history of humanity's relationship with disease...Few reading his book, and entering the tropics, will want to leave home without it." Bulletin of the History of Medicine

"In Death by Migration, Philip D. Curtin provides yet another major contribution to historical knowledge. By analyzing the mortality rates and causes of death of British and French troops moving into tropical areas over the course of the nineteenth century, he has convincingly demonstrated the contribution of improvements in hygiene and tropical medicine to the mortality revolution. This is a most fascinating study of medical and demographic history, with the broadest implications for the understanding of European imperial expansion." Stanley L. Engerman, University of Rochester

"This book is a carefuly reasoned, meticulously researched exercise in quantitative history. Its generalizations are buttressed with ample tables and graphs." The International History Review

"There is a lot to appreciate in this brief volume. Like Bates's other work, it is written in clear crisp and efficient prose, and it is theoretically rigorous." International Journal of African Historical Studies

"Curtin has written a seminal work that will stimulate scholars to undertake further studies of military mortality in other European colonies and empires. In scope, the work should have an impact comparable to that of his Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census." James L. A. Webb, Jr., African Studies Review

"Philip Curtin's methodology, arguments, and compassion...are ripe for contextual review. For data-impoverished historians in search of an understanding of nineteenth-century public health reform, they provide some key institutional chronologies and some somber food for thought." Jo Gladstone, ISIS

"Philip D. Curtin's book makes important contributions to at least three fields: the history of medicine and public health, historical demography, and the history of European colonialism." American Historical Review

Book Description:

This book is a quantitative study of relocation costs among European soldiers in the tropics between about 1815 and 1914. Curtin explores the implications in terms of medicine, Europe's history, global, political and military relations that transformed the people and medical know-how.

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