'Outstanding ...' The Independent on Sunday 'A rich, extensive and flexible review ... reading of basic importance ... well-documented cultural guide through history.' Times Literary Supplement 'A jolly good read, and an extremely useful summary of knowledge on the subject.' European History Quarterly 'A well-researched and robust survey... Quetel spans the centuries, and offers important cross-cultural insights. His book can be heartily recommended.' History 'This lively, often entertaining and well-informed book, by a historian who is unusually conversant with the medical aspects of his subject, is not only an accomplished piece of social history; it also stands as a warning that deserves to be heeded.' French History 'The volume can be highly recommended as a stimulating introduction to the subject.' Medical History 'Lively and illuminating book that examines the disease from a host of different angles.' Wilson Library Bulletin 'A thorough, well researched book and above all, a good read!' Canadian Journal of History
"History of Syphilis" aims to present a comprehensive history of the origin, nature and treatment of venereal disease. Since the appearance of syphilis in Europe at the end of the 15th century to the current debates on AIDS, venereal disease has always been a topic of research and controversy. Quetel presents an analysis of the origins and treatments of syphilis over the centuries, focusing on the controls over sexual behaviour which were justified by the need to curb the spread of the disease. The author also investigates the cultural dimensions of the problem including the very different social attitudes created by contemporary propaganda and the literary connotations which grew up around such images as the syphilitic genius. He discussed historical accounts of the spread of venereal disease and draws parallels with the current medical and social campaigns against AIDS.