Manuel Barcia

May 27, 2020

The Yellow Demon of Fever

Fighting Disease in the 19th-Century Transatlantic Slave Trade

Yale University Press 2020

As we now know, epidemics and pandemics are not new phenomena. In her new book The Yellow Demon of Fever: Fighting Disease in the 19th-Century Transatlantic Slave Trade (Yale University Press, 2020), Manuel Barcia offers a striking rendition of the diseases that swept through the illegal slave trade Atlantic World. In fact, Barcia argues that the history of disease and the story of continuing traffic in enslaved people despite the abolition of the slave trade are processes that must be understood together. Barcia demonstrates that in the 19th century Atlantic, quarantines were politicized, sworn enemies were forced to work together to combat disease, and the medical expertise of enslaved people often prevailed despite efforts to silence or ignore it.

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