Scurvy : How a Surgeon, Mariner and a Gentleman Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail

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In the days of the tall ships, one dreaded foe was responsible for more deaths at sea than piracy, shipwreck and all other illnesses combined. Cruelly culling sailors and stunting maritime enterprise from Vasco da Gama to Sir Francis Drake, this plague of the seas was scurvy. Countless mariners perished from the disease in agony; their early symptoms included bleeding gums, wobbly teeth and the opening of old wounds. A cure had eluded doctors and philosophers since the time of the ancient Greeks, but in the late eighteenth century the surgeon James Lind, the great seas captain James Cook and the physician Sir Gilbert Blane, undertook to crack the riddle of scurvy. Their timely discovery, just as Napoleon was mobilising for the conquest of Europe, solved the greatest medical mystery of the Age of Sail and irrevocably altered the course of world more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 131 x 199 x 21mm | 308g
  • Penguin Books Australia
  • Hawthorn, Australia
  • 0143002643
  • 9780143002642

Author information

Stephen R. Bown is an award-winning writer with a special interest in the history of science and exploration. His books include the internationally successful Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner and a Gentleman Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail and Sightseers and Scholars: Scientific Travellers in the Golden Age of Natural History. He lives in the Canadian Rockies with his wife and two young more