Front cover image for Silent travelers : germs, genes, and the "immigrant menace"

Silent travelers : germs, genes, and the "immigrant menace"

Epidemics and immigrants have suffered a lethal association in the public mind, from the Irish in New York wrongly blamed for the cholera epidemic of 1832 and Chinese in San Francisco vilified for causing the bubonic plague in 1900, to Haitians in Miami stigmatized as AIDS carriers in the 1980s. Silent Travelers vividly describes these and many other episodes of medicalized prejudice and analyzes their impact on public health policy and beyond. The book shows clearly how the equation of disease with outsiders and illness with genetic inferiority broadly affected not only immigration policy and health care but even the workplace and schools. The first synthesis of immigration history and the history of medicine, Silent Travelers is also a deeply human story, enriched by the voices of immigrants themselves. Irish, Italian, Jewish, Latino, Chinese, and Cambodian newcomers among others grapple in these pages with the mysteries of modern medicine and American prejudice. Anecdotes about famous and little-known figures in the annals of public health abound, from immigrant physicians such as Maurice Fishberg and Antonio Stella who struggled to mediate between the cherished Old World beliefs and practices of their patients and their own state-of-the-art medical science, to "Typhoid Mary" and the inspiring example of Mother Cabrini. Alan M. Kraut tells of the newcomers founding of hospitals to care for their own the "Halls of Great Peace" (actually little more than hovels where lepers could go to die) set up by Chinese immigrants; the establishment of St. Vincent's Hospital in New York as an institution sensitive to the needs of Catholic patients; and the creation of a tuberculosis sanitarium inDenver by Eastern European Jewish tradespeople who managed to scrape together $1.20 in contributions at their first meeting. Tapping into a rich array of sources - from turn-of-the-century government records to an advice book aimed at Italians financed by the DAR, from the photographs of Jacob Riis to the records of insurance companies and visiting nurse services, as well as poems, songs, stories, and letters of patients - this book evokes an intimate sense of the poignancy of the immigrant odyssey. Amid growing concern over using AIDS to exclude immigrants and ongoing debates about multi-culturalism, this look at how earlier generations struggled with such problems is especially valuable
Print Book, English, 1995
Johns Hopkins paperbacks ed View all formats and editions
Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1995
xiv, 369 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
9780801850967, 0801850967
Double helix of health and fear
Breath of other people killed them: first encounters
Scourge, a rod in the hand of God: epidemics and the Irish mid-century
Proper precautions: searching for illness on Ellis Island
Plague of nativism: the cases of chick gin and typhoid mary
That is the American way. And in America you should do as Americans do: Italian customs, American standards
Gezunthayt iz besser vi Krankhayt: fighting the stigma of the Jewish disease
Old inquisition had its rack and thumbscrews: immigrant health and the American workplace
There could also be magic in barbarian medicine: American nurses, physicians and quacks
East side parents storm the schools: public schools and public health
Viruses and bacteria don't ask for a green card: new immigrants and old fears
Classification of excludable medical conditions according to the 1903 Book of Instructions for the Medical Inspection of Immigrants
Classification of excludable medical conditions according to the 1917 Book of Instructions for the Medical Inspection of Immigrants