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Silent Travelers

Germs, Genes, and the "Immigrant Menace"


By: Alan M. Kraut

Alan M. Kraut's, Silent Travelers, traces the American tradition of suspicion of the unassimilated, from the cholera outbreak of the 1830s, through the great waves of immigration that began in the 1890s, to the recent past, when the erroneous association of Haitians with the AIDS virus brought widespread panic and discrimination. Kraut shows how immigrant groups have regularly been slandered as carriers of particular diseases-the Irish with cholera, Italians with polio, Jews with Tuberculosis. Of course, these new immigrant populations, made up of impoverished laborers living in urban America's least sanitary conditions, were victims of illness rather than its progenitors. Yet, without scientific evidence, the medical establishment often blamed epidemics on the immigrants' traditions, ethnic habits, or genetic heritage.

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994
ISBN: 0-8018-5096-7

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