Mosquito Warrior : Yellow Fever, Public Health, and the Forgotten Career of General William C. Gorgas, Paperback / softback Book

Mosquito Warrior : Yellow Fever, Public Health, and the Forgotten Career of General William C. Gorgas Paperback / softback

Paperback / softback

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Mosquito Warrior tells the engrossing story of General William C.

Gorgas (1854–1920), the once-renowned pioneer in tropical disease research and public health.

His fascinating life illuminates vast transformations in the United States, including the end of the Civil War and the industrialization of the US military and economy, the emergence of germ theory and the modernization of the public health system, and the rise of the United States as a world power. A scion of Confederate elites, Gorgas came of age amidst war and disease and the politics of racial segregation.

He followed his father into military service as an army medical officer, treating troops on America’s western frontier posts.

During the US occupation of Cuba, Gorgas applied Walter Reed’s research on the theory of mosquito-borne disease transmission, ending centuries of yellow fever in Havana through the eradication of the deadly Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Applying similar strategies on the isthmus of Panama against yellow fever and malaria, Gorgas enabled the completion of the Panama Canal, then the largest engineering project in the world.

Hailed a hero, he pursued his fight against mosquito-borne disease throughout the tropics, expanding American interests as he went.

Appointed as US Army surgeon general on the eve of World War I, Gorgas resumed work modernizing the army health care system, strengthening US medical and military authority on the world stage. Celebrated in life, Gorgas’s reputation fell victim to competing political interests and jealousies after his death, a cautionary tale about historical memory and the politics of science and personality.

Carol R. Byerly’s balanced and contemporary examination of Gorgas illuminates his complex legacy in medicine and public health, military history, and American ambitions at the dawn of US global ascendency.


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