I started out as an academic lecturing in medical history at the University of Liverpool after reading human sciences and the history of medicine (MSc & PhD) at University College London and the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine. All served my desire to make connections across time and ways of thinking about our place in the world.
Now I am a freelance writer, speaker, editor and reviewer in the Suffolk countryside.
Long hours spent looking out of the window at the changing agricultural landscape of fields and woods, and much grubbing in the soil of our sometimes too-large, sometimes too-small garden inspired serious thinking about plants and human history. Remarkable Plants was the first result. Botanical sketchbooks is now out (Thames & Hudson, Kew Publishing; Princeton Architectural Press)
My interest in the history of tropical medicine and health took me to Liverpool to write about the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine from colonial tool to agent of international development, Tropical Medicine in the 20th Century. A fascination with the problems caused by trying to deal with diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis led to Spitting Blood: a history of tuberculosis which explores how we have managed and mismanaged this great killer and why it still remains a threat.
- Remarkable Plants that shape our world (with William Bynum)
- Spitting Blood: a history of tuberculosis
- Great Discoveries in Medicine (edited with William Bynum)
- The Dictionary of Medical Biography (edited with William Bynum)
- Tropical Medicine in the 20th Century: A history of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
- Success in Africa: The History of the Onchocerciasis Control Programme in West Africa 1974-2002
- Body & City: A History of Public Health (edited with Sally Sheard)