The Conquest of Plague. A Study of the evolution of epidemiology

by L. Fabian Hirst, M.D. Lond., with a foreword by Lieut.-Gen. Sir William Macarthur. 478 pp. with illustrations and maps. New York: Oxford University Press, 114 Fifth Avenue, 1953. Price $11.00

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As stated in the preface of this well-written work, it purports to be neither a history of plague epidemics nor a systematic textbook, but represents “a study of the development of human beliefs about the origin of the malady from the era of primitive man to the present day”. Hence Hirst's book, though conveying well-assembled information to those who are familiar with the problems of epidemiology, can—as the author himself admits—serve only as a general introduction to the study of plague for young investigators. Indeed, one cannot help feeling that some sections devoted to the present state of knowledge on plague ecology and control are all too short. It must be noted as well that some of the opinions vigorously propounded by the author are not shared by other modern plague workers.