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Other titles in the Critical Issues in Health and Medicine series:
Under the Radar: Cancer and the Cold War (Critical Issues in Health and Medicine)by Ellen Leopold
Synopses & Reviews
At the end of the Second World War, a diagnosis of cancer was a death sentence. Sixty years later, it is considered a chronic disease rather than one that is invariably fatal. Although survival rates have improved, the very word continues to evoke a special terror and guilt, inspiring scientists and politicians to wage war against it.
In Under the Radar, Ellen Leopold shows how nearly every aspect of our understanding and discussion of cancer bears the imprint of its Cold War entanglement. The current biases toward individual rather than corporate responsibility for rising incidence rates, research that promotes treatment rather than prevention, and therapies that can be patented and marketed all reflect a largely hidden history shaped by the Cold War. Even the language we use to describe the disease, such as the guiding metaphor for treatment, "fight fire with fire," can be traced back to the middle of the twentieth century.
Writing in a lucid style, Leopold documents the military, governmental, industrial, and medical views of radiation and atomic energy to examine the postwar response to cancer through the prism of the Cold War. She explores the role of radiation in cancer therapies today, using case studies and mammogram screening, in particular, to highlight the surprising parallels. Taking into account a wide array of disciplines, this book challenges our understanding of cancer and how we approach its treatment.
'Examines the postwar response to cancer through the prism of the Cold War
'Goes beyond medical science to look at the influence of Cold War policies on the way we think about cancer today
'Links the experience of postwar cancer patients with the broader evolution of what have become cancer industries
'Traces the history of human-made radiation as a state-sponsored environmental toxin
A volume in the Critical Issues in Health and Medicine series, edited by Rima D. Apple and Janet Golden
"Opens up a promising new era for postwar history of medical research policy, clinical experimentation, and bioethics."
Bulletin of the History of Medicine"...[a] well documented, informative expose of the relationship between Cold War politics and cancer research and treatment."
The Source: Breast Cancer Action Newsletter"Ellen Leopold's penetrating, many-layered account of how Cold War metaphors and priorities distorted the treatment of cancer is a bloodcurdling study in fear, cynicism, exploitation, and relentless propaganda. Her exposure of the conflation of political and economic ideology with medicine is thoroughly original and genuinely gripping."
Katherine Powers, Boston Globe columnist"Under the Radar is a brilliantly researched, lucidly written book on a subject that is literally the life-and-death issue for twenty-first century America: Cancer treatment."
Edward Jay Epstein, author of The Big Picture: The New Logic of Money and Power in Hollywood and many other books."Compelling prose renders Under the Radar a readable exploration of the connections between Cold War thinking, politics and institutions, and American medicine's efforts to manage cancer. This breadth of focus makes for a thought provoking book."
Times Higher Education"Leopold does for our understanding of radiation what Rachel Carson did for our understanding of the indiscriminate use of chemicals in our society. The consequences are equally stunning and disheartening. This book will change how you see the medical world."
Barbara A. Brenner, executive director, Breast Cancer Action
In Under the Radar, Ellen Leopold shows how nearly every aspect of our understanding and discussion of cancer bears the imprint of its Cold War entanglement. The current biases toward individual rather than corporate responsibility for rising incidence rates, research that promotes treatment rather than prevention, and therapies that can be patented and marketed all reflect a largely hidden history shaped by the Cold War.
About the Author
Ellen Leopold is the author of A Darker Ribbon: Breast Cancer, Women, and Their Doctors in the Twentieth Century, and coauthor of The World of Consumption. She has written on the subject of the politics of health care for The Nation, American Prospect, Women's Review of Booksand the Chicago Tribune.
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