Much has been written about the UK’s National Health Service but as Martin Gorsky pointed out in a detailed review of its historiography published to coincide with its 60th anniversary in 2008, accounts of its past have tended to privilege traditional political narratives focused on national politics and the workings of the civil service.(1) In the case of Charles Webs
From a comparative perspective the health system of the United States has a history that is both representative and idiosyncratic.
A popular exhibition at the Wellcome Trust in London, running for three months from October 2016, Bedlam: the Asylum and Beyond promised to ‘reimagine the institution, informed by the experiences of the patients, doctors, artists and reformers who inhabited the asylum or created alternatives to it’.
Tom Crook has written a big book – big in scope, range, and thought. It is both an overview of the institutionalization of public health in England and an interpretation of that event as paradigmatic of the systems and practices of pervasive governance that constitute modernity.
Good reference books on the history of alcohol remain few and far between, despite increased interest in the area in the last 20 years.
Ten years after its publication, A History remains relevant. The epidemic continues to rage. The context of its historical and relational trajectories continues to shape both its evolution and the responses to it.
Randall Packard’s The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria, published in 2007, was a timely overview of the history of one of the most complex and ancient of all diseases. Indeed, Packard’s sub-title: ‘a short history of malaria’ is a modest one considering the depth and breadth of the range of topics relating to the history of malaria that Packard covers.
In Disability and the Welfare State in Britain. Changes in Perception and Policy 1948–1979, Jameel Hampton provides a scholarly account of the development of disability policy after the Second World War.
From a public health perspective the disease of smallpox was officially declared eradicated in 1980 – the result of a successful global initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the first and to date only success against a disease in humans. The world could celebrate its freedom from a dreaded disease.
Over 80,000 cases of shell-shock were officially recognised by British Army personnel during the First World War. The diagnosis remains a culturally and historically resonant symbol of the First World War in Britain. Its significance has been influenced by the famous post-war memoirs of ex-servicemen who recounted their personal experiences of shell-shock.