From the mid-nineteenth century onwards a number of previously unknown conditions were recorded in both animals and humans. Known by a variety of names, and found in diverse locations, by the end of the century these diseases were united under the banner of “anthrax.” Stark offers a fresh perspective on the history of infectious disease. He examines anthrax in terms of local, national and global significance, and constructs a narrative that spans public, professional and geographic domains.
An exemplary study that highlights how knowledge fashioned at a local level was exported and how a reading of anthrax can inform our understanding of the global circulation of knowledge.
Entertaining and enlightening reading . . . Stark provides a very convincing historical explanation of just why anthrax, regarded as a veterinary condition in large parts of the globe, enjoyed such a unique career in human medicine in Great Britain.
Offers a fresh perspective. . . . This book is a bridge between local anecdotal evidence and global scientific knowledge and will please both medical and veterinary historians.
Shakes up our complacent reliance on scientific explanations, demonstrating that our understanding of anthrax in humans springs from the context of global trade, labour relations, class conflict and cultural beliefs. This book advances historians' efforts to link local narratives to global circulations of knowledge about human/animal disease.
The empirical depth of the book is considerable, the writing is excellent and accessible, and it intertwines case stories and local perspectives with national and international debates in a substantial way. On balance, this is an excellent book, which deserves a broad readership.