Tuberculosis mortality in the United States and in Britain was declining in the late nineteenth century but rising in Ireland. Only in the first decade of the twentieth century did mortality from tuberculosis begin to fall and even then it remained higher in Ireland than in Britain and many other European nations throughout the first half of the twentieth century.
Why Ireland's pattern of tuberculosis mortality was different is the subject of this book. Several controversies in the history of tuberculosis epidemics are addressed; the degree to which poverty and standard of living played a part in the tuberculosis decline, the role of public health, urbanisation and gender.
Because tuberculosis was comparatively higher in Ireland it remained a much more potent political issue well into the twentieth century and the interaction between Ireland's politics and the question of tuberculosis is discussed.