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Who Gave Pinta to the Santa Maria?: Torrid Diseases in a Temperate World

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The anecdote-packed history of how tropical diseases (malaria, syphilis, Ebola, and tapeworm, among others) have come to thrive in North America -- the true story behind such books as The Hot Zone and Deadly Feasts.


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The anecdote-packed history of how tropical diseases (malaria, syphilis, Ebola, and tapeworm, among others) have come to thrive in North America -- the true story behind such books as The Hot Zone and Deadly Feasts.

30 review for Who Gave Pinta to the Santa Maria?: Torrid Diseases in a Temperate World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nola

    In this book Desowitz goes over the evidence for the origin and history of several diseases, including malaria, worm infestations, yellow fever, and syphylis, of which there are actually four different kinds. I didn't know anything about hookworm, and had never heard of John Rockefeller's campaign against hookworm in the southern United States. Rockefeffer's foundation also had a campaign against yellow fever, which apparently succeeded by inplementing simple mosquito control measures. But malar In this book Desowitz goes over the evidence for the origin and history of several diseases, including malaria, worm infestations, yellow fever, and syphylis, of which there are actually four different kinds. I didn't know anything about hookworm, and had never heard of John Rockefeller's campaign against hookworm in the southern United States. Rockefeffer's foundation also had a campaign against yellow fever, which apparently succeeded by inplementing simple mosquito control measures. But malaria, which I didn't know ever even existed in the US, lasted much longer here, up until World War II. As usual,Desowitz covers a lot of ground, and I found myself having to go back and look up things I had remembered wrong or not at all.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rogue Reader

    How culture, climate and travel have served as vectors for communicable diseases. Some surprises, but mostly recap of the biggest killers with an odd, occasional fictional personalization to the narrative.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Oconnor

    Desowitz is a witty science writer that makes it easy to understand the mechanics of parasitic diseases. This is not a book for the squeamish. It was written in 1997, which makes it especially interesting to read in 2017. First, because it predates the explosion of DNA information that is available to scientists now. Second, because the forecast it has for the impact the global warming will have on the insect born diseases certainly is coming to pass in our current world. Here is a typical passag Desowitz is a witty science writer that makes it easy to understand the mechanics of parasitic diseases. This is not a book for the squeamish. It was written in 1997, which makes it especially interesting to read in 2017. First, because it predates the explosion of DNA information that is available to scientists now. Second, because the forecast it has for the impact the global warming will have on the insect born diseases certainly is coming to pass in our current world. Here is a typical passage from the book that makes it such a compelling read: I remember reading, many years ago, Byron's poem "Don Juan." For some reason the only line that was fixed in my memory (and probably not with faithful accuracy) is, "What the gods call gallantry and men adultery is much more frequent where the climate's sultry." ... The phenomenon Byron alludes to can be expanded to include a panoply of creatures, with and without backbones, who become sexually aroused, more reproductive, when temperature rises.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Aathavan

    I started this book thinking that I would learn a little about tropical diseases. I did that and much more - I learnt about the migration of masses of humans and animals over millions of years, how the politics and fates of entire continents even now has been shaped by simple parasites - right from how yellow fever gained America the Louisiana purchase to how ring worm and malaria may have cost the south the war. There is much much more. This book reads great like a detective novel.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Not as entertainingly readable as the New Guinea Tapeworm book, but good enough. History of how the transmission and causative agents of some infections diseases were discovered. I was struck by how very recent (in terms of human history) these discoveries are. Source: library book sale.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Witterquick

    Great work on syphilis.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cherise

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karl Reinhard

  9. 5 out of 5

    Isaak Daniels

  10. 5 out of 5

    Libby Smith

  11. 4 out of 5

    Steph

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This is a fascinating look at migrations--both human and epidemiological.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julia

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sadie

  17. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Lucas

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

  19. 5 out of 5

    Garrett

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Liz Mccarthy

  22. 4 out of 5

    Liz

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amador

  24. 4 out of 5

    Marty

  25. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  26. 4 out of 5

    BookSwim.com Book Rental Online

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Keefe

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

  29. 5 out of 5

    John Hewlett

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hilda

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