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Roundtable Review of Mosquito Empires by John R. McNeill
Hamblin, Jacob D., ed., Roundtable Review of Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1620–1914 by John R. McNeill. H-Environment Roundtable Reviews 1, no. 1 (January 2011),
Mosquito Empires is a book that spans nearly three centuries and the histories of many peoples, nations, and empires in the American tropical world. As the title suggests, it places considerable responsibility for the course of events upon mosquitoes (Aedes and Anopheles), those formidable vectors of yellow fever and malaria. McNeill’s focus is on differential resistance—an inequality in disease susceptibility that killed off some humans while others soldiered on unperturbed. It not only reinforced the status quo before the late eighteenth century, disallowing serious imperial reconfigurations, but also strengthened independence movements from the 1770s onward.
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