The Gospel of Germs : Men, Women, and the Microbe in American Life
Nancy Tomes

The Gospel of Germs : Men, Women, and the Microbe in American Life

AIDS. Ebola. "Killer microbes." All around us the alarms are going off, warning of the danger of new, deadly diseases. And yet, as Nancy Tomes reminds us in her absorbing book, this is really nothing new. A remarkable work of medical and cultural history, The Gospel of Germs takes us back to the first great "germ panic" in American history, which peaked in the early 1900s, to explore the origins of our modern disease consciousness.

Little more than a hundred years ago, ordinary Americans had no idea that many deadly ailments were the work of microorganisms, let alone that their own behavior spread such diseases. The Gospel of Germs shows how the revolutionary findings of late nineteenth-century bacteriology made their way from the laboratory to the lavatory and kitchen, with public health reformers spreading the word and women taking up the battle on the domestic front. Drawing on a wealth of advice books, patent applications, advertisements, and oral histories, Tomes traces the new awareness of the microbe as it radiated outward from middle-class homes into the world of American business and crossed the lines of class, gender, ethnicity, and race.

Just as we take some of the weapons in this germ war for granted--fixtures as familiar as the white porcelain toilet, the window screen, the refrigerator, and the vacuum cleaner--so we rarely think of the drastic measures deployed against disease in the dangerous old days before antibiotics. But, as Tomes notes, many of the hygiene rules first popularized in those days remain the foundation of infectious disease control today. Her work offers a timely look into the history of our long-standing obsession with germs, its impact on twentieth-century culture and society, and its troubling new relevance to our own lives.

Similar Books

ISBN 10: 0374533407
ISBN 13: 9780374533403

01 Sep 2012
Anne Fadiman

ISBN 10: 0807021032
ISBN 13: 9780807021033

31 Jul 1997
Judith Walzer Leavitt

ISBN 10: 0195161068
ISBN 13: 9780195161069

01 May 2003
Barron H. Lerner

ISBN 10: 029915324X
ISBN 13: 9780299153243

30 Apr 2006
Judith W Leavitt

ISBN 10: 0393319806
ISBN 13: 9780393319804

17 Oct 1999

ISBN 10: 022627618X
ISBN 13: 9780226276182

19 May 2015
Eric Klinenberg

ISBN 10: 0226726770
ISBN 13: 9780226726779

15 Jul 1987
Charles E. Rosenberg

ISBN 10: 0195307143
ISBN 13: 9780195307146

01 Sep 2006
David Oshinsky

ISBN 10: 0521459109
ISBN 13: 9780521459105

17 Nov 2014
J. R. McNeill

ISBN 10: 0822352761
ISBN 13: 9780822352761

29 Aug 2012
John Mckiernan-gonzalez

ISBN 10: 0375726020
ISBN 13: 9780375726026

01 Jun 2005
Professor Howard Markel

ISBN 10: 1594482691
ISBN 13: 9781594482694

28 Nov 2007
Steven Johnson