Parasitic diseases infected many who settled in Europe's tropical possessions during the nineteenth century. Attendant casualty rates created major difficulties for the British Empire. The discovery of the etiology and pathology of tropical diseases (such as elephantiasis and malaria) made possible modern tropical medicine, a boon for the British colonial project. During this process, the Scottish physician Sir Patrick Manson (1844–1922) discovered that mosquitoes were the intermediate hosts of the human filarial parasite (Wuchereria bancrofti) and proposed the mosquito-malaria theory, which played a crucial role in developing the insect-vector concept. He made other crucial contributions to the discipline and was hailed as “the father of tropical medicine.” Working from unpublished letters, diaries, and manuscripts, Shang-Jen Li thoroughly describes and analyzes Manson's clinical and research activities, applying the perspectives of natural history, the history of the life sciences, and colonial history....

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