War and Disease, War and Disease, 0813544386, 0-8135-4438-6, 978-0-8135-4438-0, 9780813544380, , Critical Issues in Health and Medicine, War and Disease, 081354646X, 0-8135-4646-X, 978-0-8135-4646-9, 9780813546469, , Critical Issues in Health and Medicine, War and Disease, 0813569656, 0-8135-6965-6, 978-0-8135-6965-9, 9780813569659, , Critical Issues in Health and Medicin
War and Disease

Biomedical Research on Malaria in the Twentieth Century
Leo B. Slater
264 pages, 6 x 9
Cloth, January 2009 $45.95   ADD TO CART
Web PDF, January 2009 $28.95   EBOOK VERSION AVAILABLE
Paper, March 2014 $28.95   ADD TO CART
Series: Critical Issues in Health and Medicine
Subject Area:
History: Medicine and Nursing


Malaria is one of the leading killers in the world today. Though drugs against malaria have a long history, attempts to develop novel therapeutics spanned the twentieth century and continue today. In this historical study, Leo B. Slater shows the roots and branches of an enormous drug development project during World War II. Fighting around the globe, American soldiers were at high risk for contracting malaria, yet quinine–a natural cure–became harder to acquire. A U.S. government-funded antimalarial program, initiated by the National Research Council, brought together diverse laboratories and specialists to provide the best drugs to the nation's military. This wartime research would deliver chloroquinine–long the drug of choice for prevention and treatment of malaria–and a host of other chemotherapeutic insights.

A massive undertaking, the antimalarial program was to biomedical research what the Manhattan Project was to the physical sciences.

A volume in the Critical Issues in Health and Medicine series, edited by Rima D. Apple and Janet Golden.


"This is an admirable book, well researched and clearly written. Slater handles technical and organizational complexities with aplomb, rigor, and surety."

"War and Disease is recommended highly and should be on any reading list regarding the rise of big science in the twentieth century."
—Technology and Culture

"Slater's scholarly but fluid narrative style and careful and easy-to-understand explanations of technical concepts make War and Disease accessible to a broad readership. His work is an important contribution to studies of wartime biomedical research and helps historians, medical researchers, and policy makers more fully understand the underpinnings of today's labyrinthine U.S. biomedical research program."
—Journal of Military History

"A major contribution to malaria historiography. This indispensable study on antimalarial drug history leaves us with the reminder that a magic bullet against malaria still does not exist, despite major efforts against the disease, and that multiple chemotherapies, in conjunstion with mosquito control efforts, are needed."
—Bulletin of the History of Medicine

"War and Disease, is an excellent historical account of the role that combating malaria played in the scientific and organizational transformations to biomedical research in the United States during primarily World War II. Many historians of disease have focused their attention on the discovery of the mosquito as a vector for malaria, ignoring the importance of drug development and therapy for malaria prophylaxis and treatment, but Slater brings such issues to the forefront and puts them within the broader context of wartime necessities in the United States during the 1940s. More important, though, Slater's work gives us an insight into the modern structure of government-funded biomedical research, its benefits, and its pitfalls."
—Chemical Heritage Magazine

"This deeply researched book is the first major study of the large-scale World War II antimalarial project and is the indispensable starting point for future investigation of synthetic antimalarials."
—Journal of the History of Medicine

"War and Disease is a fascinating historical account of the discovery of drugs effective against malaria, one of the great scourges of humankind."
—Emerging Infectious Diseases

"War and Disease is a well-written book that provides insights into the US antimalarial program of the 20th century and into the subsequent research programs that are attempting to deal with the challenging diseases of today."
—Clinical Infectious Diseases

"Slater's essay, relying on a wealth of archival sources, details extremely well the development of antimalaria drug research in the first-half of twentieth century, carefully describing the growth of a small department to become a substantial part of the US war effort. The book adamantly shows this momentous shift in contemporary science."
—Nuncius Journal of the History of Science

"Few historians have the training to take on the complex world of malaria pharmacology, and few pharmacologists have the historical skills to understand the evolution of these important drugs. In this path-breaking book, Leo Slater draws on his background in chemistry and history to ably document the curious course of malaria drug research, bringing important balance to a historiography that has been at times overly attentive to the mosquito and less keen to recognize the importance of medications for prophylaxis and cure."
—Margaret Humphreys, Josiah Charles Trent Professor in the History of Medicine, Duke University

"Leo Slater has not only prepared a historical study on the chemotherapy of malaria, he has carefully analyzed needs of the times and produced a finely dissected assessment on the impact of these efforts on the development of science and the funding of scientific research in the United States."
—Clive Shiff, Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, Bloomberg School of Public Health

"Leo Slater has created an original work on a subject often ignored by historians. War and Disease makes a wonderful, and much needed, contribution to the history of medicine and science."
—John Parascandola, University of Maryland

Author / Editor Bio

Leo B. Slater is a fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Applied Economics and the Study of Business Enterprise, a historian of biomedical sciences and technology, and a former visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

Table Of Contents


Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
Chapter 1 Quinine and the Environment of Disease
Chapter 2 Avian Malaria
Chapter 3 New Drugs
Chapter 4 Preparing for War
Chapter 5 Cooperation and Coordination
Chapter 6 Trust and Transition
Chapter 7 Chloroquine, Wonder Drug
Chapter 8 Lessons Learned


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