The Empress and the English Doctor: How Catherine the Great defied a deadly virus (Hardback)Lucy Ward (author)
- 10+ in stock
With intriguing parallels to our own age of pandemics and vaccination, Ward's brilliantly accessible and lively account of Catherine the Great's key role in forging the contentious practice of smallpox innoculation makes for revelatory and inspiring reading.
A killer virus... an all-powerful Empress... an encounter cloaked in secrecy... the astonishing true story.
Within living memory, smallpox was a dreaded disease. Over human history it has killed untold millions. Back in the eighteenth century, as epidemics swept Europe, the first rumours emerged of an effective treatment: a mysterious method called inoculation.
But a key problem remained: convincing people to accept the preventative remedy, the forerunner of vaccination. Arguments raged over risks and benefits, and public resistance ran high. As smallpox ravaged her empire and threatened her court, Catherine the Great took the momentous decision to summon the Quaker physician Thomas Dimsdale to St Petersburg to carry out a secret mission that would transform both their lives. Lucy Ward expertly unveils the extraordinary story of Enlightenment ideals, female leadership and the fight to promote science over superstition.
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Number of pages: 352
Dimensions: 234 x 153 x 30 mm
'Mirroring so many of the vaccination issues of our modern age, as well as those of bodily autonomy, feminism, and power...a must-read.' - Jojo Moyes
'Timely and engaging... A truly fascinating book that reads like a thriller.' - Venki Ramakrishnan, Nobel laureate and former president of the Royal Society
'An enthralling tale of two remarkable personalities who risked all for the benefit of mankind, and of a struggle between medical science and human instinct that could not be more relevant today.' - Adam Zamoyski
'A rich and wonderfully urgent work of history which engagingly recounts one of the greatest moments in modern science and public health: a story of Enlightenment conviction, Court intrigue, Anglo-Russian relations, and timeless, personal bravery. An expertly recounted eighteenth-century tale of political leadership and medical progress with obvious insights for today.' - Tristram Hunt, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum
'In this fluent and enlightening account of the fight to eradicate the terrifying scourge of smallpox, Ward deftly describes how an English Quaker doctor, Thomas Dimsdale, played a crucial role as a pioneer of the new technique of inoculation... The Empress and the English Doctor is a gripping read and all the more timely and extraordinary for having been written in the midst of the Covid pandemic.' - Dr Helen Rappaport
'This is a fascinating and meticulously researched book with the excitement of a thriller. It's a remarkable story of female leadership and personal courage. Lucy Ward uses her brilliance as a narrator combined with her insight as a former Lobby journalist to bring to life one of history's most powerful women who really did "follow the science". - Harriet Harman MP
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