The Ailing City

The Ailing City: Health, Tuberculosis, and Culture in Buenos Aires, 1870-1950
Diego Armus
2011, Duke University Press
416 pages

AT A TIME when the spectre of tuberculosis has again raised its ugly head across the world, this well informed history of the disease and its treatment in the Argentine capital makes a significant contribution to public health debates. Diego Armus explores the state policies, experiences and discourses surrounding the disease in an era when it was a highly conspicuous threat. Fear of contagion – and death – fuelled a state of anxiety about the wider conditions in which it prospered, and hence debates about moral and cultural mores. For those reasons, this book is worth reading, revealing as it does that combating disease is never just the preserve of scientists and technocrats, but often a political task that involves taking a hard look at poverty and social deprivation. – GO’T