The Empress and the English Doctor

The Empress and the English Doctor

How Catherine the Great defied a deadly virus

The astonishing true story of how Catherine the Great joined forces with a Quaker doctor from Essex to spearhead a groundbreaking public health campaign.


‘Mirroring so many of the vaccination issues of our modern age, as well as those of bodily autonomy, feminism, and power…a must-read.’

About the book

A killer virus…an all-powerful Empress…an encounter cloaked in secrecy…the astonishing true story

Within living memory, smallpox was a dreaded disease. Over human history it has killed untold millions. Back in the eighteenth century, as epidemics swept Europe, the first rumours emerged of an effective treatment: a mysterious method called inoculation.

But a key problem remained: convincing people to accept the preventative remedy, the forerunner of vaccination. Arguments raged over risks and benefits, and public resistance ran high. As smallpox ravaged her empire and threatened her court, Catherine the Great took the momentous decision to summon the Quaker physician Thomas Dimsdale to St Petersburg to carry out a secret mission that would transform both their lives. Lucy Ward expertly unveils the extraordinary story of Enlightenment ideals, female leadership and the fight to promote science over superstition.

Hardback
9780861542451 (7 Apr 2022)
RRP £20.00 / US$30.00

Buy from Amazon UK

Buy from Waterstones

Buy from Amazon US

Buy from Buy from Blackwell’s

About the author

Lucy Ward is a writer and former journalist for the Guardian and Independent. As a Westminster Lobby correspondent, she campaigned for greater women’s representation. From 2010-12, she lived with her family in Moscow, renewing her interest in Russian history. After growing up in Manchester, she studied Early and Middle English at Balliol College, Oxford. She now lives in Essex.

Read more
Open quote
Follow me on