My favorite malaria history book

Mosquitoes, Malaria, and Man by Gordon Harrison, 1978.

Lucid writing, historical depth, and the framing of critical debates in malaria control make this book my favorite recounting of the last 130 years in the malaria world. Actually, this “history of the hostilities since 1880” no longer covers the immediate events of the past 30 years but that does not matter. The beginning of the book, on the efforts and personality of Ronald Ross, dragged on a bit too long.  However, Harrison is easily forgiven after reading his description of the arguments cast by opposing schools of thought in Italy. On one side was Angelo Celli and the social reformers who advocated land reforms and higher wages to reduce transmission and quinine to control mortality. At the other end was Missiroli and the Rockefeller foundation led by Hackett who wished for nothing short of total war on the mosquito using the larvicide paris green and other new vector control tools. The fundamental question, “Can we control disease without addressing poverty?”, is one that remains controversial today and is not asked often enough.

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