'Captain of all these men of death'

The History of Tuberculosis in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Ireland


Tuberculosis mortality in the United States and in Britain was declining in the late nineteenth century but rising in Ireland. Only in the first decade of the twentieth century did mortality from tuberculosis begin to fall and even then it remained higher in Ireland than in Britain and many other European nations throughout the first half of the twentieth century.
Why Ireland’s pattern of tuberculosis mortality was different is the subject of this book. Several controversies in the history of tuberculosis epidemics are addressed; the degree to which poverty and standard of living played a part in the tuberculosis decline, the role of public health, urbanisation and gender.
Because tuberculosis was comparatively higher in Ireland it remained a much more potent political issue well into the twentieth century and the interaction between Ireland’s politics and the question of tuberculosis is discussed.

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Greta Jones is Professor of History at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown and has written on social Darwinism, eugenics and the relationship between science and politics. She has published articles on Irish medical education and the history of birth control in Ireland and recently co-edited Medicine, Disease and the State in Ireland for cork University Press in 1999.
Representing the Scientific Board of the European Association for the History of Medicine and Health:

Series Editor:
Jonathan Reinarz, University of Birmingham

Associate Editors:
Cathy McClive, Florida State University
Bogdan Iacob, Romanian Academy

Editorial Board:
Jonathan Barry, University of Exeter
Alison Bashford, UNSW Sydney
Christian Bonah, University of Strasbourg
Sandra Cavallo, Royal Holloway, University of London
Pratik Chakrabarti, University of Manchester
Harold Cook, Brown University, Providence
Marcos Cueto, Casa de Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro
Brian Dolan, University of California, San Francisco
Philip van der Eijk, Humboldt University, Berlin
Monica Green, Arizona State University, Tempe
Patrizia Guarnieri, Università degli studi, Florence
Rhodri Hayward, Queen Mary, University of London
Peregrine Horden, Royal Holloway, University of London
Sean Hsiang-Lin Lei, Academica Sinica, Taipei
Anne Kveim Lie, Institute of Health and Society, Oslo
Guillaume Lachenal, Université Paris Diderot
Vivienne Lo, UCL China Center for Health and Humanity, London
Daniel Margócsy, University of Cambridge
Hilary Marland, Warwick University, Coventry
Graham Mooney, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
Teresa Ortiz-Gómez, University of Granada
Steven Palmer, University of Windsor
Hans Pols, University of Sydney
Peter Pormann, University of Manchester
Michael Stolberg, University of Würzburg
Marius Turda, Oxford Brookes University
John Harley Warner, Yale University, New Haven
”Magnificently researched and documented, … clearly written, … consistent with the standards of the best journals in history and the social sciences. … amazingly costly work…”
- in: Choice, June 2002, Vol. 39 No. 10

“Greta Jones’s book is intensely well-researched and makes a valuable contribution towards understanding the true dimensions of the TB epidemic in Ireland…” 
- in: The Irish Times, 25-05-2002
“Greta Jones’s monograph is a comprehensive, important and pioneering study…”
- in: Irish Economic and Social History, 2002

“Greta Jones brings a passion to her topic. […] a substantive contribution to the historiography of tuberculosis.” 
- in: Social History of Medicine, Vol. 15, No. 3, 2002

“Her research is meticulous….”
- in: Irish Studies Review, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2003 pp.211-2

“…an important work for the social history of medicine and a major contribution to the social history of Ireland, and for the history of tuberculosis it offers more than filling a gap in the research.”
- in: ISIS, 94:4 (2003)
The Background
The Tuberculosis Epidemic in Ireland: I
The Tuberculosis Epidemic in Ireland: II
The Public Health Movement 1890–1914
The Inter-War Years
The Irish Sanatorium
The 1940s
The End of the Epidemic
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