- How diseases and epidemics made history from ancient times to modern
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How diseases and epidemics made history from ancient times to modern


  The book "How Diseases Made History" was published from ancient times until today? For the German historian, journalist, and ophthalmologist Ronald Dietmar Gerste in March 2019 in Germany on the German publishing house Cot-Kuta (385 pages).

In his cross-disciplinary book, the author adopts an enjoyable and stimulating educational method, within a professional knowledge view of historical texts in presenting his information and ideas, and within the framework of the thesis that many diseases of the leaders of the great countries have changed time and time again in the course of history and in the course of world affairs in another direction, as it affected Diseases that affected intellectuals, writers and artists over the fate of a group of well-known works of art and culture.

Diseases and epidemics have contributed to the making of history, as they have always been associated with politics and economics and throughout the ages and have affected the results of wars, and have had the effect of defining the life, culture and awareness of peoples.

The author focuses on three actors in this book; They are as follows: The political figures whose achievements were affected by diseases or sudden death. The sudden illness or death of historical figures changed the course of history; Among them: Alexander the Great conquered the world, George Washington, Woodrow Wilson, Hitler, Franklin Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. The researcher devoted to the illness or death of cultural figures an important area of ​​his book because it influenced international artistic taste, as their health status clearly affected their works and their artistic, literary and cultural effects, such as Beethoven, Frida Kahlo and Johann Sebastian Bach.

The researcher devoted chapters to the topic of epidemics and diseases such as plague or what was called the black death that killed Europe, syphilis, or deadly smallpox, in addition to gout that causes premature death and the global epidemic of cholera, then the Spanish flu.

The knowledge of the author is distinguished by being composed of a combination of many disciplines, and is based on knowledge of natural sciences and humanities, and this alliance clearly came out through the new concept in this book by asking the question: "What if?" It can be said that the CV mixed with the pathological CV, which the writer seeks to document in this book, automatically leads to the speculative question, "What would have happened if ...?". The opposite reality is always an aspect of the author's preoccupation with history.

In connection with this idea, the author affirms that policymakers' disease determines decisively the course of events, and some historians are concerned, just like the spread of epidemics and diseases. About a third of the population of Europe was killed in about the middle of the fourteenth century, with full social and economic impacts. Syphilis has also persisted in many parts of the world for more than 400 years.

Some accounts say that Louis XIV and some popes have suffered from this genital disease, and also many artists such as Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert or the German poet Heinrich Heine. Yet we find it difficult to imagine the development that Europe would have taken without all of these people.

The author tries to point out the temptations to speculate about how things will work in this book, so the author accompanies some of the famous patients in their suffering, as it was common for history representatives to develop illnesses at crucial moments, which often brought fateful consequences. This idea applies to the first two chapters of this book, which are the two most important chapters dealing with the history of Europe. These leaders ruled their country for a very short period; But it was a critical and important period of rule.

In the first chapter, the author states that the Prussian Emperor Friedrich III (1831-1888) with larynx cancer had destroyed all the hopes of the liberal bourgeoisie in a constitutional monarchy. Liberals considered it a beacon of hope. Here, it is only possible to speculate on the fate of Germany if the emperor achieved the dreams of liberals in a democratic country. Nevertheless, the speculation remains strong that perhaps if King Friedrich III lived to the 1920s he would have saved Germany from the horrors of World War I, but perhaps his loyalty to the monarchy and his throat cancer were the disappointments of the liberals.

As for the second chapter, the writer asks what would the "British sectarian map" look like if the legendary "Mary Bloody" (1516-1558) would not have surrendered to her legend very early? In the 16th century, Theodore wanted to brutally convert England into a bastion of the Catholic faith.

The writer states that the cancerous tumor was not the only cause. Rather, what the researcher calls in his book “The Illusion of Pregnancy” that made the English queen twice the illusion that she is the crown prince of her husband, the Spanish prince, and his companion, another delusion, is to achieve unity between Catholic Spain and Protestant England. He pushed for what was written in history in that dark period of British history. Was the illusion of pregnancy for the queen, then the tumor, expediting the failure of this project?

The collection of questions asked by the author clearly indicates the importance of diseases in relation to history, which the author deals with from the history of the illness of some important historical figures. The same applies to the epidemics that affected the fate of the world through its repercussions on the demographic, economic, political and social situation. Examples of these epidemics The author mentioned cholera, the last major epidemic that struck Germany in 1892, in Hamburg news of this epidemic made headlines, which offended the city's reputation globally. It was common when epidemics occurred to try to stop the news, so that the national economy was not affected. Germany is suffering from both cholera and war. After the health disaster in Hamburg ended, new laws were enacted to improve living conditions, health, hygiene and the environment.

It is well known that cholera is also spreading among the victims of wars, and at the present time, thousands of Yemenis have been infected with this epidemic. Nearly 2,000 Yemenis have died from cholera this year since the outbreak of the epidemic began to spread rapidly at the end of April. "To save lives in Yemen, we must support the health system ... the Yemeni people will not be able to endure any longer - and the Yemenis need peace to rebuild their lives and rebuild their country," said Dr. Tedros Adhanum Ghebryesos, Director-General of the World Health Organization.

As for the plague, it caused the largest demographic disaster in Europe. The path of the epidemic was Europe in the seventeenth century, and the expansion of the Black Death was accompanied by the appearance of some manifestations of racism. Due to the distancing of humans from animals and the spread of the wave of physical hygiene thanks to the ideas of the Enlightenment, the plague was extinguished. The post-plague period saw an improvement in the social situation in America and Europe, as jobs were created, prices fell, and women got opportunities to work in jobs that were previously forbidden to them.

As for the story of smallpox, it is truly worthy of documentation in this book, as the ideal of the British discovery of the vaccine was a gift to the traditional enemy Napoleon. Napoleon vaccinated his army and son in 1805 with the vaccine discovered by the British doctor, Edward Jenner, so the deaths declined in France and in the world, and Napoleon presented a medal to the English doctor to express his thanks to him, just as the French Emperor answered the doctor's call to him to release two British prisoners, and the French Emperor said: No We can reject the request of one of the greatest of those who have served humanity.

Thus, a group of questions and answers related to these historical and artistic personalities influencing history and these diseases and epidemics, and we believe that the most important result of these facts and events is; Speculation and assumptions made by the author regarding the fate of the world.

The reader may be surprised by this author's conclusion, but we must not forget that this book was published before the invasion of the Corona virus Germany, Italy, England, America and the rest of the world. For this, and perhaps, with the same fairness as the logic of the book, we have the right: How would the writer formulate his thesis for this book if he had worked on it in March 2020, that is, after the spread of the Corona epidemic and the losses caused and the emergence of behaviors associated with the spread of the epidemic? Perhaps we can also speculate that the results will not differ much from what the writer mentioned, through a set of issues generally related to the behavior of countries and individuals; Including: hiding the real information about the causes of the epidemic or the true number of victims of the epidemic, the monopoly of goods and the widespread obsession with purchasing, the spread of some manifestations of racism and mutual charges, the manifestations of theft of medical materials. The apparent change may be that the new epidemic not only spread across the world via narrow steamer wagons, as it did with cholera, but also by plane.

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