Synopses & Reviews
and#147;The story Rosner and Markowitz tell of generations of children gravely damaged by promiscuous dispersal of lead, and the persistent attempts made to evade responsibility for the harms caused, is both true and shocking. This book will not just educate future environmental and health leaders, it should outrage them.and#8221;and#151;Richard J. Jackson MD, MPH, Professor and Chair, Environmental Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
"Lead Wars argues that the tragedy of lead is one that our society is doomed to repeat again and again unless we develop better safeguards to protect us against chemicals and new technology. This book is a "must read" for public health professionals as well as for political scientists, social historians and for all who care about the future of America's children."and#151;Philip J. Landrigan MD, Ethel H. Wise Professor of Community Medicine and Chairman in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine
"Can being poor justify differing standards for research or a focus merely on harm reduction and the politically feasible? Markowitz and Rosner make the compelling case that in public health the practical and possible may in the end be immoral and dangerous, and a consequence of the war on science. A necessary read for anyone who cares about public health, the role of government, children, medical experimentation and environmental justice."and#151;Susan M. Reverby, McLean Professor in the History of Ideas and Professor of Women's and Gender Studies, Wellesley College
and#147;Lead poisoning remains a tragedy (and scandal) of immense proportions, and the authors utilize new sourcesand#151;including previously unexamined court recordsand#151;to tell a story that is as gripping as it is important.and#8221;and#151;Robert N. Proctor, Professor of the History of Science at Stanford University and author of Cancer Wars
"This book tells the story of a public health tragedy affecting millions of children, the determined doctors who tried to help, and an industry propaganda campaign which prolonged and worsened the tragedy. For as long as powerful corporations manipulate politicians and public opinion to profit from dangerous products, this will remain an important story for our country."and#151;Sheldon Whitehouse, United States Senator
"Lead Wars makes clear the public health dangers we face if we continue to ignore this corporate strategy that defines and#147;acceptableand#8221; levels of risk for the thousands of chemicals in use. It brings home the importance now more than ever of taking a precautionary approach to managing toxic chemicals. This book is a must for any activist who wants to understand the strategies polluters use to continue business as usual."and#151;Lois Marie Gibbs, Executive Director, Center for Health, Environment and Justice
"In this outstanding book, Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner utilize historical scholarship to expose a major tragedy in recent public health: the failure to protect children from the harms of lead in our environment. Despite the fact that the toxic effects of lead have been known for centuries, they showand#151;using previously unavailable documentsand#151;how the lead industry has protected their profits at public expense, despite their explicit knowledge of its many dangers. Lead Wars brings this tragic history to light in a narrative that integrates deep investigation and analysis with compelling advocacy and compassion for children who continue to be at risk from one of the worldand#8217;s best-known toxins."and#151;Allan M. Brandt, Professor of the History of Medicine at Harvard University, and author of The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America
"Markowitz and Rosner have majestically woven the key characters and elements of the history of lead poisoning into a captivating narrative that exposes a tremendous and terrifying truth; unless it serves the needs of private enterprise, public health is incapable of controlling the causes of chronic disease and disability. In place of prevention, we have settled for partial solutions. Everyone who has an interest in public health, health policy or history should read this book."and#151;Bruce Lanphear, MD, MPH, Clinician Scientist, Child and Family Research Institute BC Childrenand#8217;s Hospital and Professor of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC
and#8220;In Lead Wars, CUNYand#8217;s Gerald Markowitz and Columbia Universityand#8217;s David Rosner convincingly show that the Baltimore toddler study emerged from a century of policymaking in which the US government, faced at times with a choice between protecting children from lead poisoning and protecting the businesses that produced and marketed lead paint, almost invariably chose the latter.and#8221;
and#8220;Lead Wars clearly shows that the scandalous and tragic history of lead is one that our society is doomed to repeat over and over again unless we develop and fight for better safeguards against chemicals and new technology.and#8221;
and#8220;A fascinating new book.and#8221;
"Thoroughly researched and clearly written, this book does an excellent job of illustrating the problem society encounters when science and industry face off over likely harm versus economic benefit."
"A deeply conceived and well-written book by two of America's best public health historians. It's also an important background briefing on the politics and ethics of scientific research for journalists who will be covering environmental health issues like these."
"Chronicles the monstrous irresponsibility of companies in the lead industry over the course of the 20th century."
"I want to thank David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz for what that they've done to bring the story of the lead paint wars to the public."
"The prolific team of Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner has done it again. Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of Americaand#8217;s Children is a thoroughly researched, passionate, and gripping history of a major public health problem. . . . Lead Wars challenges us to take better care of our children by fighting those industries that appear to regard themand#8212;especially poor black and Latino childrenand#8212;as disposable."
"An accessible summary of the rise of neoliberalism following World War II and its impact on global health and development programs into the late 20th century and beyond. . . . A valuable resource."
Drawing on research in central Asia, Dr. Salmaan Keshavjee examines how a health intervention designed for a vulnerable population was constructed in a manner that reflected neither the needs of the target population nor the ethos of the implementing organization. He investigates the implementation of a revolving drug funda strategy to shift the burden of pharmaceutical costs onto communities as a means of promoting sustainable” health careby an international nongovernmental organization in a poor community in Tajikistan during the years immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Provocative, rigorous, and accessible, Blind Spot offers a stark case study of what has gone wrong with international aid over the last few decades, illustrating how the privatization of health care can have deleterious outcomes for the poor, vulnerable, and hungry.
"This excellent historical-anthropological case study documents how the market-based ideology of neoliberalism has shaped global health and development policy since the 1980s.and#160; Despite evidence to the contrary, this unquestioned (and ultimately harmful) set of ideas became the 'common sense' basis of a problematic health reform effort.and#160; With a sympathetic eye towards NGOs and local health practitioners in poverty-stricken Tajikistan, Keshavjee shows how a particular program failed but the underlying assumptions remained unstoppable. This elegantly written book exemplifies the power of shifting the anthropological analytical gaze to the social processes of policy formation that exacerbated the horrific post-Soviet mortality crisis."and#151;Peter J. Brown,and#160;Professor of Anthropology and Global Health, Emory University
"All newcomers to the work of global health should read this book. Writing elegantlyand#160;about the devastating effects of the Bamako Initiative, but more importantlyand#160;about the history of neoliberalism itself, Keshavjee offers a cautionary lesson toand#160;those who are still enthusiastic about allowing market-driven policies to guideand#160;our global health work. Indeed, the case of reduced access to drugs in the post-Soviet Tajikistan community of Badakhshan presents a stunning example of theand#160;hypocrisy, ideological blindness, and institutional failures that allowed the principlesand#160;of supply side economics to both inform the provisioning of health care resourcesand#160;and, ultimately, derail even the best intentions of many a good NGO or global healthand#160;worker, including physicians like Keshavjee himself. Blind Spot is a quick and pithyand#160;study of a problem that refuses to go away."and#151;Vincanne Adams, Professor of Medical Anthropology at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of Markets of Sorrow, Laborsand#160;of Faith: New Orleans in the Wake of Katrina
"Blind Spot provides a singularly nuanced critique of neoliberal health policies as they play out on the ground in a desperately impoverished, post-war, post-Soviet setting. Taking readers from the boardrooms of Geneva to the high mountains of Tajikistan, this book is bound to become a classic in medical anthropology and critical global health studies. There is no other book quite like it."and#151;Marcia Inhorn, William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at Yale University
"Keshavjee's Blind Spot is quite possibly the most important ethnography of social development under neoliberalism applied to health that has been written to date. It is a telling moral lesson in how humanitarian assistance--despite its noble intentions--fails and actually at times even intensifies social suffering."and#151;Arthur Kleinman, Harvard University
Neoliberalism has been the defining paradigm in global health since the latter part of the twentieth century. What started as an untested and unproven theory that the creation of unfettered markets would give rise to political democracy led to policies that promoted the belief that private markets were the optimal agents for the distribution of social goods, including health care.
A vivid illustration of the infiltration of neoliberal ideology into the design and implementation of development programs, this case study, set in post-Soviet Tajikistanand#8217;s remote eastern province of Badakhshan, draws on extensive ethnographic and historical material to examine a and#147;revolving drug fundand#8221; programand#151;used by numerous nongovernmental organizations globally to address shortages of high-quality pharmaceuticals in poor communities.and#160;Provocative, rigorous, and accessible, Blind Spot offers a cautionary tale about the forces driving decision making in health and development policy today, illustrating how the privatization of health care can have catastrophic outcomes for some of the worldand#8217;s most vulnerable populations.
In this incisive examination of lead poisoning during the past half century, Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner focus on one of the most contentious and bitter battles in the history of public health. Lead Wars details how the nature of the epidemic has changed and highlights the dilemmas public health agencies face today in terms of prevention strategies and chronic illness linked to low levels of toxic exposure. The authors use the opinion by Marylandand#8217;s Court of Appealsand#151;which considered whether researchers at Johns Hopkins Universityand#8217;s prestigious Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) engaged in unethical research on 108 African-American childrenand#151;as a springboard to ask fundamental questions about the practice and future of public health. Lead Wars chronicles the obstacles faced by public health workers in the conservative, pro-business, anti-regulatory climate that took off in the Reagan years and that stymied efforts to eliminate lead from the environments and the bodies of American children.
Deceit and Denial
details the attempts by the chemical and lead industries to deceive Americans about the dangers that their deadly products present to workers, the public, and consumers. Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner pursued evidence steadily and relentlessly, interviewed the important players, investigated untapped sources, and uncovered a bruising story of cynical and cruel disregard for health and human rights. This resulting exposand#233; is full of startling revelations, provocative arguments, and disturbing conclusions--all based on remarkable research and information gleaned from secret industry documents.
This book reveals for the first time the public relations campaign that the lead industry undertook to convince Americans to use its deadly product to paint walls, toys, furniture, and other objects in America's homes, despite a wealth of information that children were at risk for serious brain damage and death from ingesting this poison. This book highlights the immediate dangers ordinary citizens face because of the relentless failure of industrial polluters to warn, inform, and protect their workers and neighbors. It offers a historical analysis of how corporate control over scientific research has undermined the process of proving the links between toxic chemicals and disease. The authors also describe the wisdom, courage, and determination of workers and community members who continue to voice their concerns in spite of vicious opposition. Readable, pathbreaking, and revelatory, Deceit and Denial provides crucial answers to questions of dangerous environmental degradation, escalating corporate greed, and governmental disregard for its citizens' safety and health.
"Deceit and Denial
...lays bare the truth about how every one of us in America is imperiled when powerful corporations forsake their responsibility to the public health. Rosner and Markowitz have combined the skills of historical research, investigative journalism, and scientific analysis to tell a story that should shake an industry and alert a nation."and#151;Bill Moyers
"Deceit and Denial is a real public service in reminding all of us that fundamental to protecting our air, water, and the health of our communities and families is the public's right to know."and#151;Carol M. Browner, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, 1933-2001
"This is an especially important book at a time when industry is increasingly sponsoring risk research, and 'voluntary' evaluation is the norm. And it is all the more important at a time when new bio-engineered products are being marketed with little understanding of long-term clinical and subclinical risks."and#151;Dorothy Nelkin, coauthor of The DNA Mystique: The Gene as Cultural Icon and Body Bazaar: The Market for Human Tissue i nthe Biotechnology Age
"In this time of community health crises, appalling environmental disasters, and political dismay, Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner have given us an urgently needed, galvanizing, hopeful history of triumphant public activism against the greatest odds. In the face of corporate cruelty and lies, labor and community activists, lawyers, and historians stopped polluters and saved countless lives. This vivid, splendid book floodlights past abuses as it charts the road toward a healing, safer future."and#151;Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt
About the Author
received his ScM from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1993, his PhD in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University in 1998, and his MD from Stanford University in 2001. He completed his clinician-scientist residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Social Medicine at Brigham and Womens Hospital (BWH) in 2005. In addition to his appointment with the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Dr. Keshavjee serves on the faculty of the Division of Global Health Equity (DGHE) at BWH, where he is also a physician in the Department of Medicine. He is an affiliate and Steering Committee member at the Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies.
Paul Farmer is cofounder of Partners In Health and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His most recent book is Reimagining Global Health. Other titles include To Repair the World; Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor; Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues; and AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame, all by UC Press.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsand#160;and#160;
1. Introduction: A World Transformedand#160;and#160;
Part I. The Beginning of the Encounter: The Soviet World Meets Its Global Counterparts
2. Health in the Time of the USSR: A Window into the Communist Moral Worldand#160;and#160;
3. Seeking Help at the End of Empire: A Transnational Lifeline for Badakhshanand#160;and#160;
Part II. Life at the End of Empire: The Crisis and the Response
4. The Health Crisis in Badakhshan: Sickness and Misery at the End of Empireand#160;and#160;
5. Minding the Gap? The Revolving Drug Fundand#160;and#160;
Part III. Transplanting Ideology: Village Health Meets the Global Economy
6. Bretton Woods to Bamako: How Free-Market Orthodoxy Infiltrated the International Aid Movementand#160;and#160;
7. From Bamako to Badakhshan: Neoliberalismand#8217;s Transplanting Mechanismand#160;and#160;
Part IV. The Aftermath: Neoliberal Success, Global Health Failure
8. Privatizing Health Services: Reforming the Old Worldand#160;and#160;
9. Revealing the Blind Spot: Outcomes That Matterand#160;and#160;
10. Epilogue: Reframing the Moral Dimensions of Engagementand#160;and#160;