No Magic Bullet: A Social History of Venereal Disease in the United States Since 1880

Paperback | January 1, 1987

byAllan M. Brandt

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From Victorian anxieties about syphilis to the current hysteria over herpes and AIDS, the history of venereal disease in America forces us to examine social attitudes as well as purely medical concerns. In No Magic Bullet, Allan M. Brandt recounts the various medical, military, and publichealth responses that have arisen over the years--a broad spectrum that ranges from the incarceration of prostitutes during World War I to the establishment of required premarital blood tests. Brandt demonstrates that Americans' concerns about venereal disease have centered around a set of social and cultural values related to sexuality, gender, ethnicity, and class. At the heart of our efforts to combat these infections, he argues, has been the tendency to view venereal disease as botha punishment for sexual misconduct and an index of social decay. This tension between medical and moral approaches has significantly impeded efforts to develop "magic bullets"--drugs that would rid us of the disease--as well as effective policies for controlling the infections' spread. In the paper edition of No Magic Bullet, Brandt adds to his perceptive commentary on the relationship between medical science and cultural values a new chapter on AIDS. Analyzing this latest outbreak in the context of our previous attitudes toward sexually transmitted diseases, he hopes to providethe insights needed to guide us to the policies that will best combat the disease.

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From Our Editors

This book is devoted to tracing the historical record of this distinctive set of infectious diseases from the late nineteenth century to current epidemics of herpes and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

From the Publisher

From Victorian anxieties about syphilis to the current hysteria over herpes and AIDS, the history of venereal disease in America forces us to examine social attitudes as well as purely medical concerns. In No Magic Bullet, Allan M. Brandt recounts the various medical, military, and publichealth responses that have arisen over the year...

From the Jacket

This book is devoted to tracing the historical record of this distinctive set of infectious diseases from the late nineteenth century to current epidemics of herpes and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Allan M. Brandt is Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Kass Professor of the History of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 5.31 × 7.99 × 0.63 inPublished:January 1, 1987Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195042379

ISBN - 13:9780195042375

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From Our Editors

This book is devoted to tracing the historical record of this distinctive set of infectious diseases from the late nineteenth century to current epidemics of herpes and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Editorial Reviews

"A major contribution to the social history of medicine and public policy in the United States."--Isis