Author was named Alaska Historian of the Year in 2005 for "Must We All Die?"
Alaska Natives have struggled with the 'white plague' of tuberculosis for centuries. At last, physician and historian Robert Fortuine brings their story to light. He provides a comprehensive account of tuberculosis from its earliest occurrence in prehistory through the latest outbreaks, made more threatening by HIV/AIDS.
Fortuine describes the courage and self-sacrifice of itinerant nurses who endured challenging and often dangerous conditions, as well as the efforts of doctors who fought cuts in funding as valiantly as they battled for the lives of their patients.
Fortuine chronicles the removal of tuberculosis victims, many of them children, from their families and villages to hospitals in the Lower 48 states. He describes treatments, medical advances, and day-to-day life for the nurses, physicians, missionaries and teachers who worked to stem the tide that killed and disabled thousands. The struggle against tuberculosis in Alaska is a story of triumph against untold suffering and crippling odds, but it is also a cautionary tale, as villages experience the re-emergence of an increasingly resistant disease in the twenty-first century.
Must We All Die? is a timely and encyclopedic contribution to the history of medicine. Historians and health care professionals will hail the volume as a classic, a tribute to those who fought tuberculosis and to the Alaska Natives who endured a cruel disease that destroyed families and ravaged villages.
Robert Fortuine, a retired officer of the U.S. Public Health Service, is the author of dozens of articles on the history of health and disease in the Arctic. His previous books include Chills and Fever: Health and Disease in the Early History of Alaska (University of Alaska Press, 1992) and The Words of Medicine: Sources, Meanings, and Delights (2001). He is Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He was selected Alaska Historian of the Year in 2005 for Must We All Die? He lives in Wasilla, Alaska.