The topic of 'epidemic disease and cultural transformation' has been a significant topic, ebbing and flowing at various times, for the past one thousand years. As we move into the next millennium and in the context of such diseases as HIV-AIDS, ebola viruses, and so on, the topic is not only important in and of itself, but it is also fundamental to several fields of study, ranging in scope from genetics and biology to human and social ecology, not to mention from advanced technology and cyberspace to individual (and collective) sexuality and identification.
I like the book's depth and breadth in every way imaginable; from its detailed archival work articulating particular periods to the broad brush strokes that encompass 800 years of history and more. Not only do I like it as social history, but I like it as medical anthropology, as gender studies, as cultural studies, and more. I also like its interdisciplinary approach to the phenomena. In short, I think it is a major contribution to the expanding literature on the 'body.'...Continua