The Great Mosquito Hunt and Other Adventures

by Elizabeth Manson-Bahr
Released: 28th January, 2024
If you love the TV programme – Who do you think you are? – you should buy this book. It is the story of the author’s journey back through her family’s history. For anyone who is fascinated by the history of Britain’s connection with the rest of the world, it will be compulsive reading, full of exotic characters in colourful locations.

Full synopsis

This book is the author’s answer to the question Who do you think you are? set in China, Russia, Egypt, Kenya, Fiji and the US during the 18th to 20th centuries. It describes the battle to discover the causes of malaria. Sir Patrick Manson, the author’s great-grandfather, known as Mosquito Manson, was the first scientist to prove that insects were vectors of disease, a discovery which led to the detection of the malarial parasite. He founded the Chinese Medical School in Hong Kong and the London School of Tropical Medicine. Among his pupils was Sun Yat-sen, the first President of modern China.

It is the story too of plagues and pandemics, of Scottish and German merchants who made their fortunes in 19th century Egypt and 18th century Russia. The author’s mother, orphaned by the Spanish flu, made her way to Africa where she served as a FANY in 1942, marrying Clinton, the third in the family line of tropical medical specialists. The chapters are interspersed with the author’s own childhood memories growing up in Fiji and Kenya.

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