At the outset of the twentieth century, malaria was Italys major public health problem. It was the cause of low productivity, poverty, and economic backwardness, while it also stunted literacy, limited political participation, and undermined the army. In this book Frank Snowden recounts how Italy became the world center for the development of malariology as a medical discipline and launched the first national campaign to eradicate the disease.Snowden traces the early advances, the setbacks of world wars and Fascist dictatorship, and the final victory against malaria after World War II. He shows how the medical and teaching professions helped educate people in their own self-defense and in the process expanded trade unionism, womens consciousness, and civil liberties. He also discusses the antimalarial effort under Mussolinis regime and reveals the shocking details of the German armys intentional release of malaria among Italian civiliansthe first and only known example of bioterror in twentieth-century Europe. Comprehensive and enlightening, this history offers important lessons for todays global malaria emergency.

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