Chronic Disease in the Twentieth Century challenges the conventional wisdom that the concept of chronic disease emerged because medicine's ability to cure infectious disease led to changing patterns of disease. Instead, it suggests, the concept was constructed and has evolved to serve a variety of political and social purposes. How and why the concept developed differently in the United States, an United Kingdom, and France are central concerns of this work. While an international consensus now exists, the different paths taken by these three countries continue to exert profound influence. This book seeks to explain why, among the innumerable problems faced by societies, some problems in some places become viewed as critical public issues that shape health policy. -- from back cover.