Who Gave the World Syphilis? The Haitian Myth

By Richard C. Holcomb, M.D., F.A.C.S., Captain, Medical Corps, U. S. Navy, Retired. With Introduction by C. S. Butler, A.B., M.D., Li.D., Rear Admiral, Medical Corps, U. S. Navy. Pp. 1-189. Froben Press. New York. 1937

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This scholarly work by Captain Holcomb should be read by all interested in the controversial question as to the place of origin of syphilis. As Admiral Butler says, in his introduction, Medicine owes the author a considerable debt, in that he has placed upon record the actual evidence upon which is largely based the contention that syphilis was brought to Europe from Haiti by the sailors of Columbus, and has shown how unworthy of belief such evidence is when carefully analysed. The author was able to examine and study the work of Ruiz Diaz de Isla, this author being usually relied upon as furnishing the most convincing evidence of the Haitian origin of the disease, and the present work is a most careful analysis of the statements made by him regarding the subject.

The reviewer has read the book with the greatest interest and pleasure and is convinced that its perusal and study should prove, to any unbiased student, the falsity of the claim that syphilis originated in Haiti and was brought to Europe by the sailors of Columbus.