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Reviews

"Frequent epidemics of yellow fever, the first disease threatening to destroy continents, and the more recent scourges of HIV/AIDS, SARS, and Ebola show Packard’s scope in enlightening readers who are rarely likely to be so captivated by a university publication. This is a powerful book demanding substantial time and attention."

"A History of Global Health gives us an unrivalled view from within the belly of the beast, revealing the physiology and pathologies of the organism."

"Informative and entertaining... Old-timers will enjoy a romp through the eras that marked their careers, and those starting out will learn how we got to where we are and have a gauntlet thrown down on where we ought to go."

"A History of Global Health is an excellent addition to the medical historiography. Its strengths lie in its ambitious scope, meticulous research, and convincing arguments. Compellingly written, Packard sets out a critical history of global health initiatives that both historians and global health policy-makers not only should, but need, to read. Packard’s book will no doubt remain required reading for some decades to come."

"Meanwhile, Packard’s exceptional History of Global Health comes very close to this ideal. It is by far the best clear and profound panorama of global health to date. It will be an inspiration and a tool for policy makers, public health scholars, and historians of medicine."

"For a long time now, historians have been looking for a book that takes a big picture view of the emergence of global health. This is that book, and Packard is the ideal person to have written it. An impressively lucid synthesis of several disparate bodies of literature, A History of Global Health provides readers with a richer repertoire from which to evaluate health problems and campaigns."

"Packard argues convincingly that the best model for understanding global health is to see it in terms of a ‘North-South’ division of labor. This excellent book uses historically observable patterns to challenge students and practitioners of global health to think of the future."

"Randall Packard’s brilliant and sweeping book brims with new insights and provocative claims, all masterfully researched and compellingly argued. A History of Global Health: Interventions into the Lives of Other Peoples is also charged with a moral force that crackles and glows from its subtitle to the last paragraph of its conclusion."

"A penetrating, even damning, account of mainstream international and global health across the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. Once again, Randall Packard has produced a must-read volume for specialists and a broader public alike."

"Packard provides the historical and socio-cultural context for the development of what we now call ‘global health,’ a thread that ties Virchow to Gorgas to C.E.A. Winslow to Marmot. This book makes a strong case for and provides solid evidence of the need to balance a biomedical perspective with an appreciation of social determinants to maximize sound global health practice."

"If all books hailed as required reading really were, no one would get anything done. But practitioners of medicine and public health, and tightfisted guardians of the shrinking public purse, should all set down headlamps and flashlights and blinkers to read Randall Packard's powerful new exploration, a history of global health. Packard swivels his piercing searchlight on the specific—tuberculosis and AIDS in Southern Africa, Ebola in west Africa, malaria across it, as well as debates about what to do about these plagues of the poor and the malnutrition and high rates of fertility that were held to be leading to a "population crisis"—to the general, cutting through the fog of intentions good and bad of what is now widely termed global health. His riveting synthesis is not a study of human motivations but rather a sweeping review of the historical roots of attempts to address, with varied motivations and even more varied outcomes, pathogens and pathogenic forces still reaping a grim harvest among the poor, and not just in Africa. In doing so, Packard offers a comprehensive look at the origins of public health's primary transnational institutions, the debates that churned within and beyond them, and campaigns that failed or sometimes succeeded. Packard writes not to cheer us, but rather to remind us that history never starts when we say so: new epidemics are less new than noticed; innovation in medicine and public health is more aptly understood as a series of fits and starts; novel funding mechanisms and global institutions designed to address runaway epidemics are built from rusty and fissured colonial debris; avowed motivations are rarely as unimpeachable as advertised but rooted, rather, in neoliberal ideologies of long duration. But A history of global health is no catalogue of woe. It's result is to instruct and inspire and illuminate. No historian shines a brighter torch on the mortal dramas of our day—or of the dark night that preceded it."