Scurvy

How a Surgeon, a Mariner, and a Gentlemen Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail
Narrated by: Dan Cashman
Length: 7 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A lively recounting of how three determined individuals overcame the constraints of 18th century thinking to solve the greatest medical mystery of their era. The cure for scurvy ranks among the greatest of military successes, yet its impact on history has mostly been ignored. Stephen Bown, in this engaging and often gripping book, searches back to the earliest recorded appearance of scurvy in the 16th century, to the 18th century, when the disease was at its gum-shred, bone-snapping worst, to the early 19th century, when the preventative was finally put into service. Brown introduces us, among others, to James Lind, navy surgeon and medical detective, whose research on the disease spawned the implementation of the cure; Captain James Cook, who successfully avoided scurvy on his epic voyages; and Gilbert Blane, whose social status and charisma won over the British Navy and saved England.

©2003 Stephen R. Bown (P)2003, 2016 New Millennium Entertainment, Phoenix Books

Critic Reviews

"Brings the atmosphere of the time on ship alive in a way that can almost be cut with a knife." (Popular Science)
What members say
Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

focused historical look at scurvy

thorough recounting of the history of scurvy, it's affect on the human body, age of discovery, losses and gains of conquering lands and political influences. scurvy seen today with picky eaters, restricted fad diets, and in refugee camps.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

OUTSTANDING!

Mr. Stephen Brown wrote an excellent book and Mr. Dan Cashman narrated it well. Scurvy is something I thought little to nothing of. Now, it has got my attention. I served in the United States Navy for twenty-one years. I was at sea for 15 months of that. I did not know that scurvy was a disease that could take out the crew. I found this book fascinating. It held me captive from the first word. I will recommend this book to everyone I know especially my Navy friends.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

headline

The narrator was not effective in his use of accents of British, French and others whose words were used in the book. Very amateurish and annoying. Distracted from an otherwise interesting book.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • T
  • 02-20-20

That dag-on Ego always gets N the way!!!

I absolutely love the info N this book! LOVE IT!!! Amazing Vitamin C! I had to put the speed on 1.35 to 1.40% N order to B able to listen to it though! 100% was just way to slow & was putting me to sleep, but after adjusting that speed, it was smooth sailing! I also got lost N all of the dates 1609 this, 1722 that & 1818 lost me! I believe BC I have no visual point of reference! Inspite of those couple minor things, I really like the book & am absolutely GR8ful for what I was able to learned fm it! Gonna buy some more ORGANIC Vitamin C & double up, or better yet, some organic Liposomal vitamin C BC it is combined w/oil (usually soy which I stay away fm) & corn N America is now 90% GMO'd) so I look for organic sunflower oiled liposomal Vitamin C, the oils help the vitamin C stay N the body longer, regular viramin C is water soluble, so it flushes out when we...U know.......pee!

I get my liposomal fm:

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I do not know or get paid by them, I am just a customer & buy their products BC some R organic, that is it! Stay Healthy! 🍋🍋🍋

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting story, but mildly amateurish recording

The story is interesting, but a bit convoluted. Even after hearing it, it is hard to fully understand the many times people found the cure, then seemingly forgot it, or could not convince others to believe it.

But my biggest gripe is the recording quality. The narrator does a reasonable job most of the time, but the many characters he is called upon to represent seem to overtax his abilities, especially when it comes to creating diverse voices and accents. He is never very convincing with the accents. Fortunately, he usually underplays the voices and accents, rather than overdoing it.

Perhaps worse than the muddled accents is the recording itself. Supposedly, this is "digitally remastered" from audiotape. Well maybe it is. But during the first chapter or two, there is a faint but annoying squeaking that makes me think the hubs of a cassette tape rubbing on the plastic case. Later, in another chapter, I could have swore that I heard faint voices in the background, like people talking in the control room, or perhaps an echo on the tape of an adjacent layer of the recording. Still, despite all this, the story is interesting enough that it seemed to me like a worthwhile listen. In addition to getting a lot about scurvy, you get a kind of introduction to what life was like aboard the sailing ships of old, and meet some interesting characters, including Captain Cook.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Solid

Very solid story but fairly boring narration. Probably would have been better about an hour shorter and with more specific focus on scurvy.

1 person found this helpful