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Defeating the Ministers of Death

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  41 ratings  ·  11 reviews
The compelling story of vaccination. We may fear terrorist attacks, but in truth humans have always had far more to fear from infections. In 1919, Spanish flu killed over 50 million people, more than died in both world wars combined. In 1950, an estimated 50 million people caught smallpox worldwide, of whom 10 million died. In 1980, before measles vaccine was widely used, ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Expected publication: June 16th 2020 by HarperCollins
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Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Immunisation scepticism is very much a first world problem.

A decent read providing quite a high level summary of the history of immunisation. It also briefly covered various diseases such as polio, smallpox, TB.

Learnt a few things. But I wish it explored things a little more in depth at times, namely the conflict between personal choice and infringement of other people's liberties. Also a further delve into ethics would have been interesting.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Enthralling history of infectious diseases and the role of vaccination in their control and defeat. . A professor of Paediatrics, David Isaacs’ writing is concise but fluid and fills his pages with vignettes and human stories to lay bare the story of smallpox, rabies, polio, diphtheria, hepatitis B, meningitis, German measles and more.

The shocking story of the 19th Century GP, Dr Edward Jenner, giving an eight year old labourer’s son a dose of smallpox to see if his prior vaccination
Shilpa Shah
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Professor Isaac’s book “ defeating the ministers of death” is no less than a page turning thriller. This story cannot be made up. The trials and tribulations, successes and failures, flawed hypotheses juxtaposed with unparalleled genius of scientists and chemists and vaccinologists make up for a glorious pot boiler novel! Professor Isaac approaches each vaccine preventable disease as a new chapter and meticulously unfathoms its journey from its supremacy; ultimately to its eradication. He explod ...more
Belle Beth Cooper
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The subtitle of this book is spot on. It *is* a compelling history of vaccination. The author says the point of this book was to use the most interesting stories to illustrate the history of vaccination, so there are lots of stories used to illustrate the facts presented, which makes it an easy read for non-fiction. Three stories help the facts to stick with you, and the author does a really good job of making the facts easy to understand without talking down to the reader. I'll be reading this ...more
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you have ever wondered if Vaccination is really worth it,
If you have ever wondered about vaccinating your children,
or if you would like support to your argument that vaccination is the best thing for everyone,
this book is wonderful.
Read it.
Barbara Whitehead
Sam Law
Read More Book Reviews on my blog It's Good To Read

This is essentially a numbers book:

Spanish flu 1918: Infected 500 million people globally, killing up to 50 million.
Smallpox 1950: 10 million die from an estimated 50 million cases worldwide.
Diphtheria 1930’s: Third leading cause of child death in England and Wales. (This one is personal, as my own mother had it as a child!).
Measles 1980: An estimated 2.6 million children died.
There are myriad other d
Hanah Williams
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a great introduction to the vaccine world. It gave insight into multiple diseases and how vaccination not only came to be but how vaccination helped eradicate multiple plaguing diseases. It addressed a lot of the current controversy surrounding vaccination and should be read by both vaccine-pro and anti-vaccine individuals to provide a better insight into why vaccination is so important. This is a very easy read and should be a stepping stone into the conversation that is on a lot o ...more
Kathy Hoopmann
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Who would have thought that book about vaccinations could be so interesting. Prof Isaccs has a lovely fluid way of writing that pulls you along as well as any good fiction writer. And his information and research is fascinating! Highly recommended.
Kylie Waters
Great read. Effortlessly accessible for the non medical.
Fascinating, easy to read and hopeful.
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