Health, disease and society in Europe, 1800–1930

A source book

Edited by Deborah Brunton

Health, disease and society in Europe, 1800–1930

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6739-6
  • Pages: 328
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £16.99
  • Published Date: May 2004
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Social & cultural history, Medicine / History of medicine, HISTORY / Social History, MEDICAL / History, HISTORY / Europe / General, Social & cultural history, History


During the nineteenth century, the provision of medical care underwent a radical transformation. In 1800, the body was still understood in terms of humours and fluids, and treatment was provided by a wide range of individuals, some of whom had little or no formal training. Institutions were marginal to the medical enterprise, and governments took almost no part in providing medical services. By 1930, however, a recognisably modern medicine had begun to emerge across Europe. New understandings of human physiology had resulted in the new science of surgical therapy; hospitals had become centres for care, research and training; and the newly organised medical professions increasingly sought to regulate medical practice. In most countries, the state had accepted responsibility for public health and the provision of basic welfare services.

This volume provides readers with unrivalled access to a comprehensive range of sources on these major themes. Extracts from contemporary writings vividly illustrate key aspects of medical thought and practice, while a selection of classic historical research and up-to-date work in the field helps further our understanding of medical history. Thematically arranged, these sources are assembled to complement the essays in the companion volume, Medicine Transformed: Health, Disease and Society in Europe, 1800-1930. In addition, brief scholarly introductions make the sources accessible to both the specialist and the general reader.


Part one - The rise of hospital medicine
Part two - The changing role of the hospital
Part three - The emergence of modern surgery
Part four - The role of the laboratory
Part five - The emergence of a modern profession
Part six - Women in medicine
Part seven - Disease in populations
Part eight - Colonial and Imperial medicine
Part nine - From germ theory to social medicine
Part ten - The fortunes of eugenics
Part eleven - The growth of the asylum
Part twelve - War and medicine
Part thirteen - Access to care, 1880-1930


Deborah Brunton is Lecturer in the History of Medicine at The Open University

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