Laura's Reviews > The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History

The American Plague by Molly Caldwell Crosby
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's review
Jul 07, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: public-health
Recommended for: everyone
Read in July, 2009 — I own a copy

This narrative nonfictional novel follows the disease of yellow fever from its origins in the jungles of West Africa to its arrival and thus adaptation to the US. The effect on US cities, particularly Memphis and New Orleans was incalculable. Crosby is especially good at describing the horrendous conditions of Memphis, or the "city of corpses" as it is referred to. It also chronicles the countless quest of doctors and scientists to find its causes and cures. Specifically that of General Walter Reed. Crosby profiles their journey to figure out the correct method of transmission and how to ultimately stop the spread of the feared 'yellow jack' disease. She even goes into great detail about one of history's most controversial human studies. Many doctors, nurses, and soldiers sacrificed their lives in hopes of finding a cure for the disease that ultimately shaped world history and pubic health.

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