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Publisher's Summary

A lively recounting of how three determined individuals overcame the constraints of 18th century thinking to solve the greatest medical mystery of their era. The cure for scurvy ranks among the greatest of military successes, yet its impact on history has mostly been ignored. Stephen Bown, in this engaging and often gripping book, searches back to the earliest recorded appearance of scurvy in the 16th century, to the 18th century, when the disease was at its gum-shred, bone-snapping worst, to the early 19th century, when the preventative was finally put into service. Brown introduces us, among others, to James Lind, navy surgeon and medical detective, whose research on the disease spawned the implementation of the cure; Captain James Cook, who successfully avoided scurvy on his epic voyages; and Gilbert Blane, whose social status and charisma won over the British Navy and saved England.
©2003 Stephen R. Bown (P)2003, 2016 New Millennium Entertainment, Phoenix Books
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Critic Reviews

"Brings the atmosphere of the time on ship alive in a way that can almost be cut with a knife." (Popular Science)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Patricia Ferrer on 02-15-18

focused historical look at scurvy

thorough recounting of the history of scurvy, it's affect on the human body, age of discovery, losses and gains of conquering lands and political influences. scurvy seen today with picky eaters, restricted fad diets, and in refugee camps.

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5 out of 5 stars
By John Wurst on 11-29-17


Mr. Stephen Brown wrote an excellent book and Mr. Dan Cashman narrated it well. Scurvy is something I thought little to nothing of. Now, it has got my attention. I served in the United States Navy for twenty-one years. I was at sea for 15 months of that. I did not know that scurvy was a disease that could take out the crew. I found this book fascinating. It held me captive from the first word. I will recommend this book to everyone I know especially my Navy friends.

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