Quinine: Malaria and the Quest for a Cure That Changed the World

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Harper Collins, Aug 17, 2004 - History - 384 pages

Quinine: The Jesuits discovered it. The Protestants feared it. The British vied with the Dutch for it, and the Nazis seized it. Because of quinine, medicine, warfare, and exploration were changed forever.

For more than one thousand years, there was no cure for malaria. In 1623, after ten cardinals and hundreds of their attendants died in Rome while electing Urban VII the new pope, he announced that a cure must be found. He encouraged Jesuit priests establishing new missions in Asia and in South America to learn everything they could about how the local people treated the disease, and in 1631, an apothecarist in Peru named Agostino Salumbrino dispatched a new miracle to Rome. The cure was quinine, an alkaloid made from the bitter red bark of the cinchona tree.

From the quest of the Englishmen who smuggled cinchona seeds out of South America to the way in which quinine opened the door to Western imperial adventure in Asia, Africa, and beyond, and to malaria's effects even today, award-winning author Fiammetta Rocco deftly chronicles the story of this historically ravenous disease.


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THE MIRACULOUS FEVER TREE: Malaria and the Quest for a Cure That Changed the World

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A seasoned, filigreed history of malaria and its treatment.Malaria is still one of the great scourges, turning the blood to sludge, blackening the liver and spleen: "Malaria is so common, and so ... Read full review

The miraculous fever-tree: malaria, medicine and the cure that changed the world

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Before the discovery of malaria's causes and treatments, the mosquito-borne illness was a killer that held sway over tropical countries and extended deadly tendrils into more northern climes. Born in ... Read full review


Sickness Prevails Africa
The Tree Required Rome
The Tree Discovered Peru
The Quarrel England
The Quest South America
To War and to Explore
To Explore and to War From
The Seed South America
The Science India England and Italy
The Last Forest Congo
Notes on Sources
Further Reading

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About the author (2004)

Fiammetta Rocco was raised in Kenya. Her grandfather, her father and she herself all suffered from malaria. Ms. Rocco's investigative journalism has won a number of awards in the United States and in Britain. She lives in London, where she is the literary editor of the Economist. This is her first book.

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