Writing this book has reminded me how fortunate I am. While conducting my research, I needed plenty of help and guidance. While trying to form and sharpen my arguments, I needed many sounding boards. While struggling to put my ideas in clear prose, I needed several sharp-eyed readers. Several dozen friends and colleagues, and a few relatives, answered my needs, giving me and my book their precious time.
Helpful colleagues who answered amateurish questions or provided references about mosquitoes, diseases, and ecology include Peter Armbruster, Tim Beach, Heidi Elmendorf, Derwin Fish, David Krakauer, Todd Morell, Scott Norton, and Emilio Quevedo. Scholars who performed similar kindnesses, some of them so long ago they have likely forgotten, concerning historical matters include Andrew Bell, Lisa Brady, the late Philip Curtin, Alejandro de la Fuente, Luis Fajardo, Lil Fenn, Reinaldo Funes, Ignacio Gallup-Diaz, Sherry Johnson, Wim Klooster, Peter McCandless, Phil Morgan, Jean-Francois Mouhot, Matt Mulcahy, Celia Parcero, Anne Perotin-Dumon, Ernst Pijning, Lydia Pulsipher, Ben Vinson, Jim Webb, Xenia Wilkinson, and Drexel Woodson. My debt extends to my former students Juan-Luis Simal and Vikram Tam-boli, who dug up documents on my behalf, as did Liz Shlala. I thank them all.
Several historians, two political scientists, and one geomorpholo-gist read all or parts of the manuscript and provided helpful suggestions and sorely needed corrections. Those who read parts, in some cases most of it, include Trevor Burnard, Ronald Hoffman, Paolo Squa-triti, and my Georgetown colleagues Tommaso Astarita, Tim Beach, Carol Benedict, Jim Collins, David Goldfrank, Erick Langer, Chandra Manning, Bryan McCann, and Jim Millward. (Professor Burnard also lent my family his house and car one summer while I worked in British archives.) Colleagues who made the sacrifice of reading the full manuscript include Alan Karras, Steve Wrage, and from Georgetown Alison Games, Charles King, Meredith McKittrick, Micah Muscolino, Aviel Roshwald, Adam Rothman, and John Tutino. No fewer than sixteen Georgetown colleagues read all or parts of the work, testimony to a generosity of spirit that I expect is not often equaled elsewhere.
No less remarkable is that my father, William McNeill, my sister Ruth McNeill, and my brother-in-law Bart Jones read it in full as well. My father sped the completion of the project by asking frequently whether it was done yet. My sister, who twenty-five years ago told me my writing would be improved if I sprinkled ten additional commas on each page and it would hardly matter where they landed, excised scores of errant and unhelpful commas scattered throughout this text. Two anonymous readers for Cambridge University Press also provided useful suggestions which I have heeded (and some others that I probably should have heeded).
Audiences at several universities and conferences have politely sat through presentations on themes in this book, and in every case made comments or asked questions that refined my thinking. So I thank the patient souls at the following universities: Akron, Canterbury, Duke, George Washington, Harvard, Helsinki, Johns Hopkins, Lund, Maryland, Michigan, MIT, New Hampshire, Penn, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Wisconsin, Yale, and York.
At various stages, I needed not only time and expertise from generous colleagues, but I also needed money. The MacArthur Foundation and the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown provided the necessary funds for overseas research.
The greatest debt I save for last. Thank you, Julie.
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