Riders of the Plagues

By James A. Tobey. Charles Scribners Sons, 1930

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A very interesting and well written presentation of the accomplishments of sanitation and Public Health, written for the lay reader.

In a work of this kind accuracy is a prime requisite, but this book is full of misleading statements. Historians no longer accept the statement (p. 23) that Columbusand his men acquired syphilis from America. That typhoid fever is now almost non-existent in our country (p. 88) is almost as gross an exaggeration as the reputed death of Mark Twain that occurred during his life. It is surprising to find the elimination of scurvy attributed solely to Captain Cook (p. 60). Dengue occurs constantly in spite of the declaration (p. 191) that it is vanquished, and the scientific work done on this subject, as well as the eradication of beriberi from the Philippine Scouts (p. 263) resulted from the labors of many men rather than single individuals.