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Preview — Bring Out Your Dead; The Great Plague Of Yellow Fever In Philadelphia In 1793 by J.H. Powell
Bring Out Your Dead; The Great Plague Of Yellow Fever In Philadelphia In 1793
In 1793 a disastrous plague of yellow fever paralyzed Philadelphia, killing thousands of residents and bringing the nation's capital city to a standstill. In this psychological portrait of a city in terror, J. H. Powell presents a penetrating study of human nature revealing itself. Bring Out Your Dead is an absorbing account, form the original sources, of an infamous trage...more
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I don’t remember where it was that I first learned of this book, but I’m glad I did. Being a native Philadelphian was also a driving force to read it. As far as I can remember, I never heard of this plague when we studied the history of our state or city in lower school, so most of this was new for me. The author, at the time of his writing this book, was a research librarian at the Philade ...more
Yet the well-to-do were not immune. A sad part of this story is the indiscriminate way the fever killed. At the time, a large part of the city’s leadership fled the city -- the poor, ...more
The winter had been mild. That summer there was a drought and, with no municipal water system, people captured rainwater in open barrels for their use. During the summer, the city experienced an influx of people fleeing a bloody slave rebellion in Santo Domingo. With them came the ...more
It was interesting to find out that a makeshift government sort of just happened during this time, and it confirms my beliefs that we need some sort of government in order to succeed as a society. B ...more
The author considers the physician Benjamin Rush one of the heroes of this story. He worked tirelessly and helped instill confidence and hope in the people of Philadelphia during a time of terror, in spite of the fact that his cure for the yellow fever--aggressive bloodletting and mercury--likely killed more of his patients than no treatment at all.
"Panic is cured, not by reason, but by fi ...more
It was pretty much your typical chaos, with an exodus of people who were able to leave and a long, challenging time for those who couldn't. While describing the progress of the outbreak and the way those still around dealt with it (they made their own government!), the book also emphasizes the state of medicine and the place of physicians in society at that ...more
This book is a little bit about the Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic and a little bit about Benjamin Rush (the most-respected doctor in the US at the time), but mostly it's about what people do when they confront problems that they don't understand and can't solve. Some people flee ...more
Sadly, for Powell, this book made me yearn for Hans Zinsser's Rats, Lice, and History, my favorite book on plague.