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History in Review

Plagues, Disease, & History


American Pandemic: The Lost Worlds of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, by Nancy K. Bristow.
A compelling social history of the impact of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic on American society, history, and psyche.

Beating Back the Devil: On the Front Lines with the Disease Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service, by Maryn McKenna
McKenna chronicles the nail-biting story of the men and women who comprise the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS). The EIS is an elite fraternity whose members are the front line forces that are sent out to identify and control an outbreak when the CDC is informed of a burgeoning epidemic or suspected act of biological terrorism.

Biology of Plagues: Evidence from Historical Populations, by Susan Scott & Christopher J. Duncan.
Were hemorrhagic fevers, like Ebola, the cause of some of the plagues that ravaged Medieval Europe? In this ground-breaking book the authors demonstrated that it is likely that many of the epidemics that were once thought to have been cases of bubonic plague where in reality outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever...

The Black Death: A Personal History, by John Hatcher.
This is a 'literary docudrama' that mixes rigorous historical research with elements of fiction in order to present an engrossing and informative overview of what life was like in a medieval rural village in England during the Black Death epidemic of 1345-1350.

The Black Death in Egypt and England, by Stuart J. Borsch.
An in-depth comparative study on the effect of the Black Death on Egyptian and English economies and agricultural systems. Also examines how agrarian practices in both countries affected their recovery rates.

The Coming Plague, by Laurie Garrett.
Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance. This impressive book examines the potentially catastrophic dangers presented by viruses and mans attempts to control the uncontrollable.

Deadly Companions: How Microbes Shaped Our History, by Dorothy H. Crawford.
Written for the general reader, this book looks at both ancient and modern epidemics and how diseases develop and spread. It provides a general introduction to the role that microbes, and the diseases they often engender, have impacted human development and history.

The Demon in the Freezer, by Richard Preston.
A chilling look at the threat posed by bioweapons, viewed through the specter of the anthrax letter attacks in 2001. This book also looks at the history and eradication of smallpox, in nature, the threats posed by stockpiles of smallpox that are maintained, both officially and unofficially, throughout the world.

Examining Tuskegee, by Susan M. Reverby.
This book offers a comprehensive analysis of the notorious study of untreated syphilis that has become the American metaphor for medical racism, government malfeasance, and physician arrogance.

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, By Eric Schlosser.
In Fast Food Nation, Schlosser offers the reader an eye opening look at how America was transformed into a nation of fast food restaurants and boilerplate shopping centers. Most important, he details the impact that this homogenization has had on the country, not just in regard to the store fronts, but also how it has affected every aspect of our lives from how our food is grown to how our children are exploited as a source of cheap labor.

Fever of War: The Influenza Epidemic in the U.S. Army During World War I, by Carol R. Byerly.
A gripping history of how the Influenza pandemic of 1918-19 affected the U.S. Army and the medical professionals, who found that they were unprepared to cope with such a devastating and wide-scale outbreak.

Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918, By Gina Kolata.
In this book, Kolata offers the reader an in-depth look at the 1918 influenza pandemic; including what influenza is, the effects that the epidemic had both politically and culturally, and its long term aftereffects.

The Fourth Horseman: One Man's Mission to Wage the Great War in America, by Robert Koenig.
The chilling history of Dr. Anton Dilger, an all-American boy who became a German spy and saboteur who, in 1915, set up a secret bio-weapons lab in Washington, D.C. in order to grow anthrax to kill as many horse and mules as he could in hopes of impeding the American war effort.

Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War, By Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg, and William Broad.
An in-depth look at America's secret biological warfare research and the current efforts underway to thwart a biological attack, and the threat posed by biological weapons, and bioterroism.

Global Flu and You: A History of Influenza, by George Dehner.
A concise overview of the history and science related to pandemic influenza.

Goldberger's War: The Life and Work of a Public Health Crusader, by Alan M. Kraut.
A detailed biography of Dr. Joseph Goldberger, a Jewish immigrant to the United States who discovered the root cause of pellagra, a disease that often killed its victims and which, as Goldberger discovered, could be easily cured by a change in diet.

Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World, by Jessica Snyder Sachs.
This book presents a detailed overview of the "hygiene hypothesis" and the history of the development, use, and over use of antibiotics.

The Great Plague, By Stephen Porter
A energetic account of the Bubonic Plague epidemic of 1665-66 and the effect that it had on English society.

The Great Plague - The Story of London's Most Deadly Year, by A. Lloyd Moote and Dorothy C. Moote.
An insightful account of the Great Plague of 1665 and the effect it had on the residents of London.

How the Cows Turned Mad, by Maxime Schwartz.
An intriguing history of the medical detective work that has gone into identifying and studying spongiform encephalopathies, including Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, otherwise known as Mad Cow disease.

Hunger Fighters, by Paul de Kruif.
Eleven essays that detail the lives and works of the early pioneers of the food sciences, including Mark Alfred Carleton, Angus Mackay, Marion Dorset, John Mohler, Friedrich Loeffler, Edward Francis, George Harrison Shull, George Hoffer, Stephen Moulton Babcock, Harry Steenbock, and Joseph Goldberger.

A Journal of the Plague Year, by Daniel Defoe.
The 1665 saw the third, and last, major bubonic plague epidemic to strike London. This novel offers a chilling account of that year of plague, a year in which the Black Death killed nearly 17,500 people in London.

Lotions, Potions, Pills, and Magic, by Elaine G. Breslaw.
A survey of health care in early America.

Mass Mediated Disease, by Debra E. Blakely.
A Case Study Analysis of Three Flu Pandemics and Public Health Policy.

Networks in Tropical Medicine: Internationalism, Colonialism, and the Rise of a Medical Specialty, 1890-1930, by Deborah J. Neill.
A study of the development of tropical medicine as a distinct field of study, and how researchers collaborated, on an international level, to combat sleeping sickness in Africa.

Plague Ports: The Global Urban Impact of Bubonic Plague, 1894-1901, by Myron Echenberg.
A detailed history of the third bubonic plague pandemic, in which the author follows the plague as it traveled around the globe, and looks at ten port cities that were affected by the plague, and how it was dealt within each city.

Plagues & Poxes, by Alfred Jay Bollet.
The Impact of Human History on Epidemic Disease.

The Power of Plagues, by Irwin W. Sherman.
A comprehensive and accessible overview of the history of epidemic diseases, how they are transmitted, the social and political response to epidemic diseases both in the past and in the present, and how modern civilization is at just as much risk from epidemic diseases as were our ancestors.

Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82, by Elizabeth Anne Fenn.
A comprehensive overview of The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82, and the impact it had on the American Revolutionary War and Native populations.

Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint, 2nd Edition, by Lawrence O. Gostin.
Newly revised and expanded, this is a comprehensive introduction to the field of public health law, and the role that the government does, and should play, in protecting the health of its citizens.

Revolutionary Medicine: The Founding Fathers and Mothers in Sickness and in Health, by Jeanne E. Abrams.
An overview of sickness and health in the 18th century viewed through the prism of the lives of the founding mothers and fathers of a nation.

Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism, by Marion Nestle.
An intriguing look at the politics of food safety, and the emerging threats to the American food supply.

Scourge: The Once and Future Threat of Smallpox, by Jonathan B. Tucker.
A history Smallpox: how it spread around the globe, how it affected civilization, and how Smallpox was eradicated. Plus a look at what might happen if smallpox were ever used as a bioweapon.

Seven Modern Plagues: and How We Are Causing Them, 2e, by Mark Jerome Walters.
A readable account of seven diseases whose origins can be traced back to ecological damage caused by humans. This book details not only their origins, but also the threat they might pose in the future.

Smallpox, Syphilis and Salvation, by Sheryl Persson.
A history of some of the most momentous medical breakthroughs of the modern age from the vaccine for smallpox to the discovery of penicillin, interwoven with biographies of the researchers who made these breakthroughs possible.

Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA, by Maryn McKenna.
Lurking in our homes, hospitals, schools, and farms is a terrifying pathogen that is evolving faster than the medical community can track it or drug developers can create antibiotics to quell it. That pathogen is MRSA—methicillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus — and this book tells the story of its shocking spread and the alarming danger it poses to us all.

Timebomb: The Global Epidemic of Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis, by Lee B. Reichman and Janice Hopkins Tanne.
An riveting account of the rise in Tuberculosis cases around the globe, and the increased threat posed by multi-drug-resistant strains of TB.

Twelve Diseases That Changed Our World, by Irwin W. Sherman.
Discover how twelve diseases, namely porphyria, hemophilia, the Irish potato blight, cholera, smallpox, bubonic plague, syphilis, tuberculosis, malaria, yellow fever, the great influenza pandemic, and AIDS, changed the world and the very real threat they still pose for the future.

Virus Ground Zero: Stalking the Killer Viruses with the Centers for Disease Control, by Ed Regis.
This book offers an intriguing look into the history and the modern workings of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It also offers a brief overview of basic immunology and virology. This overview enables the lay reader to readily grasp the nature of viruses, and to better understand the battle that the CDC wages in the fight to preserve the public's health.

Viruses, Plagues and History, by Michael B. A. Oldstone
This book provides an overview of a variety of viruses and their effect on man, both historically and in the present.

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