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"Easily the most definitive study of a sadly ignored episode of history. The narrative is bold in its claims, meticulous in its research, and seamlessly able to move from the minutiae of bacteriology to the machinations of Great Britain and Russia in the Big Game. I marvel at the author's acute erudition, his endearing humanism, and his ability to forge a narrative that is at once sobering and suspenseful, detailed in texture, but almost breezy in tone. Revelatory; a gem of a book."

"An original contribution to the history of epidemic diseases and the development of modern sanitary measures in Iran during the period of the Qajar dynasty. Scholars and students of Persian studies, the history of medicine, and sciences in Iran and the Muslim world will want to read this book. Warmly recommended."

"This book masterfully fills a crucial gap in our understanding of Iran's modern history. Relying on an array of archival and other primary sources, Afkhami demonstrates how in the face of deadly transregional pandemics and a host of other health issues, the Qajar state's nascent public heath regime could only partially cope with depopulation, malnutrition, and endemic diseases that ravaged Iran in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries."

"Afkhami highlights an important (but often neglected) series of events in the history of human cholera. His tale of the arrival of pandemic cholera to Iran and the Persian Empire over the span of a century is a tour de force and represents a major contribution to the history of medicine literary cannon."

"Amir Afkhami has brilliantly broken new ground in the scholarship on epidemics and society. A Modern Contagion is a splendid and enlightening book."

"A thoroughly engrossing exploration of the transformative role of Iran's encounter with cholera in shaping European imperial rivalries, Iranian conceptions of governance, and the cultural politics of medicine. Richly researched and boldly argued, this is a compelling study of the making of sanitary modernity at the intersection of Europe and Asia."