Cholera 1832 The Social Response to an Epidemic
Originally published in 1976, this is the account of British society’s response to the threat of disease. It is the story of an administrative fight to exclude the disease by quarantine and to persuade commerce and working-class people to observe carefully thought-out regulations. The story of one of failure – of men hampered by lack of information, lack of resources and lack of a convincing scientific explanation. Medical science failed to see that infected water supplies were the major carriers of the epidemic and failed to acknowledge saline infusion (the basis of successful modern treatment) when it was presented to them by an obscure local surgeon in Leith. The social structure of the medical profession was as much a barrier to scientific advance as the technical limitations of statistical method and microscope. These reactions are explained in terms of the expectations and the understanding of those involved as well as in terms of modern medical knowledge and sociological theory.
‘Morris’ study will become a standard account of a revealing incident in English history. Based on careful research into a variety of printed and unprinted sources…it provides a lucid account of the epidemic.’ Charles Rosenberg, University of Pennsylvania, USA.
‘Cholera 1832 is a welcome addition to the increasing body of knowledge of the impact of cholera on nineteenth century Britain…it is well-structured and presented in a manner that allows the reader to identify quickly the areas relevant to his or her interests.’ A. A. MacLaren, University of Strathclyde, UK.