An excellent companion for any health geographer,
By A Customer
This review is from: Geographies of Health: An Introduction (Paperback)
This is well written, easy reading and well worth the wait, considering that health geography text books are so few and far between.
Gatrell makes an up-to-date survey of health geography research and literature, drawing examples from both the developed and developing world. He firmly leaves the old school of 'medical geography' behind and focuses on 'health' rather than 'disease.'
What is so appealing is how he presents the pluralistic approaches to studying health geography. He starts by mentioning five case studies, for example AIDS in Uganda and the organization of space in twentieth century asylums. Throughout the book he refers to the theoretical methods adopted by their researchers (whether positivist, structuralist etc), highlighting the positive and negative points of each.
Gatrell also refers to approaches that see international and national political and economic factors affecting health from colonial times to the present day, unlike traditional medical geography texts which don't seem to make that connection. There is also a useful appendix of web based resources on health geography.
The book is rich in examples in the developing world and somewhat scantier in the developing world. I would like to have seen more emphasis on developing countries, particularly the effects on the health of people living in politically volatile countries like Afghanistan, Palestine and Angolia and countries like Iraq and Cuba due to economic sanctions - in fact none of these countries were mentioned.
'The Geographies of Health' puts health geography into perspective and a good text for any undergraduate or postgraduate student of health geography. I have only had my copy for two months and it is well thumbed.