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Meat, Medicine and Human Health in the Twentieth Century


Studies for the Society for the Social History of Medicine: 1

Editors: David Cantor, Christian Bonah and Matthias Dörries

272pp: 234x156mm: 2010
HB 978 1 84893 103 9: £60/$99

'an excellent contribution...this well organized and interesting book certainly belongs on the shelves of university libraries, and researchers and teachers with particular interest in the topic of food and health will find it stimulating and useful.'

Journal of the History of Medicine


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By the beginning of the twentieth century, meat eating was a regular part of daily life in the Western world. Whilst the extra protein in this diet had a beneficial effect on growth and resilience to certain diseases, excessive amounts were found to promote cancer, heart disease and obesity. When it comes to meat this is often what we talk about today: its implications for us, our planet and our health. However, few seem to agree on what these implications are.

This collection of ten historical essays explores some of the complex relations between meat and human health in twentieth-century North America and Europe. Its subjects include the relations between the meat and the pharmaceutical industries, the slaughterhouse and the rise of endocrinology, the therapeutic benefits of meat extracts and the short-lived fate of liver ice-cream in the treatment of pernicious anaemia. Other articles examine responses to BSE and bovine tuberculosis, cancer and meat consumption, DES in cattle, American-style meat in Mexico and Nazi attitudes towards meat eating. Together these papers highlight a complicated array of often contradictory attitudes towards meat and human health.

Introduction: Meat, Medicine, and Human Health in the Twentieth Century – David Cantor and Christian Bonah
Part I: Meat and Therapeutics
1 Zomine: A Tale of Raw Meat, Tuberculosis, Industry and War in Early Twentieth-Century France – Ilana Lowy
2 Treat with Meat: Protein, Palatability and Pernicious Anaemia in the 1920s–1930s – Susan Lederer
3 How Abattoir 'Biotrash' Connected the Social Worlds of the University Laboratory and the Disassembly Line – Naomi Pfeffer
Part II: Meat, Politics, and Culture
4 What’s Meatpacking Got to Do with Worker and Community Health? – Donald D Stull and Michael J Broadway
5 Is Refrigerated Meat Healthy? Mexico Encounters the Chicago Meatpacking ‘Jungle’ c.1910 – Jeffrey M Pilcher
6 Confused Messages: Meat, Civilization and Cancer Education in the Early Twentieth Century – David Cantor
7 What’s for Dinner? Science and the Ideology of Meat in Twentieth-Century US Culture – Rima D Apple
8 Vegetarianism, Meat and Life Reform in Early Twentieth-Century Germany and their Fate in the ‘Third Reich’ – Ulrike Thoms
Part III: Meat, Risk and Regulation
9 Mad and Coughing Cows: Bovine Tuberculosis, BSE and Health in Twentieth Century Britain – Keir Waddington
10 Food, Drug and Consumer Regulation: The ‘Meat, DES and Cancer’ Debates in the United States – Jean-Paul Gaudillière
  • 'an excellent contribution...this well organized and interesting book certainly belongs on the shelves of university libraries, and researchers and teachers with particular interest in the topic of food and health will find it stimulating and useful.'

    Journal of the History of Medicine

  • 'a fascinating collection of essays ... an excellent addition to the medical historiography'

    Social History of Medicine

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ISBNs: 9781848931039 978-1-84893-103-9 ISBNs: 9781848931046 978-1-84893-104-6 ISBNs: 9781781442180 978-1-78144-218-0

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