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Bring Out Your Dead: The Great Plague of Yellow Fever in Philadelphia in 1793
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Bring Out Your Dead: The Great Plague of Yellow Fever in Philadelphia in 1793

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  134 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
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
Paperback, 334 pages
Published June 1st 1993 by University of Pennsylvania Press (first published 1949)
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May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
BRING OUT YOUR DEAD: The Great Plague of Yellow Fever in Philadelphia in 1793. (1949). J. H. Powell. ****.
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
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
The whole time I wanted to shout "MOSQUITOS! It is the MOSQUITOS!" I loved this book. But I also love public health and epidemiology...
Mar 24, 2012 rated it liked it
“Grim and fantastic senselessness” is the author’s description of the yellow fever in Philadelphia in 1793. And an apt description it is. Approximately 10 percent of city’s population died in the late summer/fall of the year -- a number disproportionately representing the poor and sick who could not escape the city.

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,
Denise Barney
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In 1793, Philadelphia was the center of the new United States. It was the legal capital, the largest shipping port, the center of commerce and trade, the leading city for the study of medicine and learning in general.

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
Shawn Marie Hardy
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: historians, those interested in medicine
Recommended to Shawn Marie by: I found it by accident.
This book was really hard to get into but I'm glad I stuck with it. It was very informative and really made me feel thankful that we have the modern comforts that we have today. I envision life in 1793 full of people smelling like camphor and vinegar, and the streets of urine and feces and dead meat.

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
This book goes beyond history to provide an account of individual heroism and nobility. The primary hero is Dr. Benjamin Rush, who led the fight against the plague of yellow fever in Philadelphia of 1793. The book is both well-written and well-researched, filled with details about the plague and its effect on all aspects of life in Philadelphia starting in the summer of 1793. Caribbean refuges brought the Yellow Fever. Philadelphia's ravenous mosquitoes provided the perfect vehicle for spreading ...more
Chris Herdt
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was interested to read this book because of the many references to it in the annotations to Arthur Mervyn.

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
Mar 23, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
With yellow fever spreading in South America, I figured I'd look at how it affected things here during one outbreak in Philadelphia in 1793.

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
Dec 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sciences
Probably the #1 thing that people who know me don't know about me is that I love epidemics. Do you remember the Google map overlay with morbidity/mortality statistics for H1N1? I refreshed it every 5 minutes. Anyway.

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
May 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Decent bit of history and a lovely reappraisal of Benjamin Rush, pompous medical assclown of the colonial era. No matter how much Powell pulls his punches and gives a kind and sympathetic word to Dr. Rush, I relished his laying down the reckoning with the verity that bleeding persons suffering from fever can only kill them faster.

Sadly, for Powell, this book made me yearn for Hans Zinsser's Rats, Lice, and History, my favorite book on plague.
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