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FRONTIER FEVER by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk


by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: July 15th, 1995
ISBN: 0-8027-8401-1
Publisher: Walker

 Bone-chilling, fascinating reading in a work subtitled, ``The Silly, Superstitiousand Sometimes SensibleMedicine of the Pioneers.'' Van Steenwyk (Ida B. Wells-Barnett, 1992, etc.) covers medicine from the colonial era until the late 19th century. Pre- 20th century medicine was based on theories such as the Law of Similars (stated here as adapted from Native American practice) and European heroic medicine, based on the four humors (blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile) and their therapies (bleeding, vomiting, purging, and blistering). It was not until the 19th century that bacteriology was understood; the relationship of sanitation to good health and the idea of vaccination were introduced into public awareness. Many intriguing individuals are discussed, as are the health crises of the times. The text exhibits a little modern smugness toward the well- meaning but arrogant, ignorant, European white males with their (no longer acceptable) social attitudes. Illustrated with interesting old b&w prints, the book nevertheless will have uses in both science and history curricula. (glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10+)