The Epidemic Streets represents a major advance in the historical study of death and disease in the nineteenth century. Anne Hardy has drawn on a wide range of public health records for a detailed epidemiological investigation of the behaviour of the infectious diseases in the Victorian city. Whooping cough and measles, scarlet fever and diptheria, smallpox, typhus, typhoid, and tuberculosis ravaged millions of families and made life desperately uncertain a
hundred years ago; today they have almost ceased to trouble the developed world. Dr Hardy explores thefactors which helped to reduce their fatality, focusing particularly on the role of preventive medicine, and on the local and domestic circumstances which affected the behaviour of the different diseases.
This is a significant contribution to the historical debate that arose from Thomas McKeown's theory ofmodern population growth, and it also extends our understanding of the ways in which Victorian society - both lay and medical - coped with the problems of endemic and epidemic infectious disease.
'The depth and range of Hardy's analysis mark this book as one of the most significant contributions to this ongoing debate.'
T.P. Gariepy, Choice, Jul/Aug '94
'A specialist monograph, which will appeal to many interested in public health and infectious disease ... The book's strength lies in its meticulous use of public health data from local and national reports.'
Brian Hurwitz, British Medical Journal, Volume 309, 1994
'a highly informative and stimulating book ... Its importance lies in the breadth of its perspective and the good sense with which the author evaluates the wide array of possible influences ... this book raises many new questions that will influence how the rest of us do our research in the future.
John M. Eyler, Medical History, October 1994
'Hardy provides a new perspective, arguing not only that smallpox itself was undergoing a period of diminished virulence in the second half of the 19th century, but also that preventive measures other than vaccination were possibly more important ... she provides useful insight into 19th century British public attitudes to health and illness and to children ... This study is an ambitious undertaking, and Anne Hardy is to be commended for examining - and
trying to make sense of - masses of local medical reports and studies. Her book will prove essential reading for those interested in 19th century public health and/or the McKeown debate, although the case against McKeown is not yet settled.'
Linda Bryder, University of Auckland, Metascience, Issue 6, '94
`This culminating monograph bears all the hallmarks of her previous efforts: meticulous in-depth research, clearly argued and written in a style accessible to both specialists and lay readers alike...Hardy marshalls her evidence skilfully.'
Social History of Medicine
`The choice of London as a focus for the study is valuable ... The layout of the book will make it valuable for teaching as care is taken to give an account of the etiology and disease processes involved for each infection.'
R.J. Morris, University of Edinburgh, ENR Feb. 97
`she provides useful insight into 19th century British public attitudes to health and illness and to children ... This study is an ambitious undertaking, and Anne Hardy is to be commended for examining - and trying to make sense of - masses of local medical reports and studies. Her book will prove essential reading for those interested in 19th century public health and/or the McKeown debate, although the case against McKeown is not yet settled.'
Linda Bryder, University of Auckland, Meta Science, New Series Issue Six 1994
1: Whooping Cough
3: Scarlet Fever
9: The Impact of Local Preventive Medicine
Appendix: Statistical Note