A review of the original edition of The Burdens of Disease that appeared in ISIS stated, "Hays has written a remarkable book. He too has a message: That epidemics are primarily dependent on poverty and that the West has consistently refused to accept this." This revised edition confirms the book's timely value and provides a sweeping approach to the history of disease.
In this updated volume, with revisions and additions to the original content, including the evolution of drug-resistant diseases and expanded coverage of HIV/AIDS, along with recent data on mortality figures and other relevant statistics, J. N. Hays chronicles perceptions and responses to plague and pestilence over two thousand years of western history. Disease is framed as a multidimensional construct, situated at the intersection of history, politics, culture, and medicine, and rooted in mentalities and social relations as much as in biological conditions of pathology. This revised edition of The Burdens of Disease also studies the victims of epidemics, paying close attention to the relationships among poverty, power, and disease.
About the Author
J. N. HAYS is a professor emeritus of history at Loyola University of Chicago.
"Hays has written a remarkable book. He too has a message: that epidemics are primarily dependent on poverty and that the West has consistently refused to accept this. Hays's book should be in every undergraduate library and be recommended reading, as a whole or in part, in a wide range of history of medicine courses."
"Required reading for any university-level course on the social history of disease and, indeed, of medicine generally. A masterly and reliable synthesis."
— American Historical Review
"This is an impressive piece of work. It delivers more than it promises, for it not only treats epidemics and Western responses to them, but also discusses conflicting ideas about disease in relation to such topics as population, tuberculosis, technology, and empire—and all in a lucid, even-handed, and generous way. A fine and focused overview of a significant range of topics in the history of medicine."
— M. Jeanne Peterson
"In The Burdens of Disease J. N. Hays has synthesized a very large literature dealing with the history of medicine and disease. The result is an original and impressive book that deserves a wide readership. It provides a fascinating perspective on contemporary health issues."
— Gerald Grob
"An impressive text. Hays has presented us with a well-researched and insightful thesis, which deserves a wide readership not only among the microbiologically inclined, but also among all those concerned with the impact of microbial disease on public policy."