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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 39814 comments Mod
This is a thread to discuss the various plagues that have hurt mankind over time.

message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 39814 comments Mod

Asleep The Forgotten Epidemic that Remains One of Medicine's Greatest Mysteries by Molly Caldwell Crosby

Publisher's Synopsis:

Another fascinating foray into medical history from the author of The American Plague

In 1918, a world war was raging, and a lethal strain of influenza was circling the globe. In the midst of all this death, a bizarre disease appeared in Europe. Eventually known as encephalitis lethargica, or sleeping sickness, it would spread across the world, leaving millions dead or locked in institutions.

Then, in 1927, it would disappear as suddenly as it had arrived-or so the doctors at first thought.

Asleep, set in 1920s and '30s New York, follows a group of neurologists through hospitals and insane asylums as they try to solve this worldwide epidemic.

The symptoms could include not only unending sleep but dangerous insomnia, facial tics, catatonia, Parkinson's, and even violent insanity. Molly Caldwell Crosby, acclaimed author of The American Plague, explores the frightening history of this forgotten disease- and details the frantic effort to conquer it before it strikes again.

message 3: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) I've copied these two books over from another thread as this is more appropriate area for discussion. These two very interesting books cover the history of the plague or the 'Black Death'. The first one is; "The Great Mortality" by John Kelly and the second book is; "The Great Plaque" by A.Lloyd & Dorothy C. Moote.

The Great Mortality by John Kelly by John Kelly
Publishers blurb:
A compelling history of the Black Death that scoured Europe in the mid 14th-century killing twenty-five million people. It was one of the worst human disasters in history. 'The bodies were sparsely covered that the dogs dragged them forth and devoured them!And believing it to be the end of the world, no one wept for the dead, for all expected to die.' Agnolo di Turo, Siena, 1348 In just over a thousand days from 1347 to 1351 the 'Black Death' travelled across medieval Europe killing thirty per cent of its population. It was a catastrophe that touched the lives of every individual on the continent. The deadly Y. Pestis virus entered Europe in October 1347 by Genoese galley at Messina, Sicily. In the spring of 1348 it was devastating the cities of central Italy, by June 1348 it had reached France and Spain, and by August England. At St Mary's, Ashwell, Hertfordshire, an anonymous hand carved the following inscription for 1349: 'Wretched, terrible, destructive year, the remnants of the people alone remain.' According to the Foster scale, a kind of Richter scale of human disaster, the plague of 1347-51 is the second worst catastrophe in recorded history. Only World War II produced more death, physical damage, and emotional suffering. Defence analysts use it as the measure of thermonuclear war -- in geographical extent, abruptness and casualties. In 'The Great Mortality' John Kelly retraces the journey of the Black Death using original source material -- diary fragments, letters and manuscripts. It is the devastating portrait of a continent gripped by an epidemic, but also a very personal story, narrated by the individuals whose lives were touched by it.

"Kelly is a fair-minded and reliable guide, with a gift for providing racy and vivid background for those who know nothing of the Middle Ages.' Independent on Sunday 'There has never been a better researched, better written or more engaging account of the worst epidemic the world has ever known than this.' Simon Winchester, author of 'The Professor and the Madman and Krakatoa' 'Kelly approaches the story of the greatest tragedy in history like a forensic detective who must first recreate the life of the victims before examining their deaths. While writing with a keen eye for the telling details of the past, Kelly's book might also be a warning about our own future." - Jack Weatherford, author of 'Genghis Khan'

The Great Plague The Story of London's Most Deadly Year by A. Lloyd Moote by A. Lloyd Moote
Publisher blurb:
In the winter of 1664-65, a bitter cold descended on London in the days before Christmas. Above the city, an unusually bright comet traced an arc in the sky, exciting much comment and portending "horrible windes and tempests." And in the remote, squalid precinct of St. Giles-in-the-Fields outside the city wall, Goodwoman Phillips was pronounced dead of the plague. Her house was locked up and the phrase "Lord Have Mercy On Us" was painted on the door in red. By the following Christmas, the pathogen that had felled Goodwoman Phillips would go on to kill nearly 100,000 people living in and around London -- almost a third of those who did not flee. This epidemic had a devastating effect on the city's economy and social fabric, as well as on those who lived through it. Yet somehow the city continued to function and the activities of daily life went on.

In The Great Plague, historian A. Lloyd Moote and microbiologist Dorothy C. Moote provide an engrossing and deeply informed account of this cataclysmic plague year. At once sweeping and intimate, their narrative takes readers from the palaces of the city's wealthiest citizens to the slums that housed the vast majority of London's inhabitants to the surrounding countryside with those who fled. The Mootes reveal that, even at the height of the plague, the city did not descend into chaos. Doctors, apothecaries, surgeons, and clergy remained in the city to care for the sick; parish and city officials confronted the crisis with all the legal tools at their disposal; and commerce continued even as businesses shut down.

To portray life and death in and around London, the authors focus on the experiences of nine individuals -- among them an apothecary serving a poor suburb, the rector of the city's wealthiest parish, a successful silk merchant who was also a city alderman, a country gentleman, and famous diarist Samuel Pepys. Through letters and diaries, the Mootes offer fresh interpretations of key issues in the history of the Great Plague: how different communities understood and experienced the disease; how medical, religious, and government bodies reacted; how well the social order held together; the economic and moral dilemmas people faced when debating whether to flee the city; and the nature of the material, social, and spiritual resources sustaining those who remained.

Underscoring the human dimensions of the epidemic, Lloyd and Dorothy Moote dramatically recast the history of the Great Plague and offer a masterful portrait of a city and its inhabitants besieged by -- and defiantly resisting -- unimaginable horror.

"In this crowded field, this jewel of a book brings a new dimension by telling the story of how the rich and the poor who stayed rather than escaped survived rather than died, maintained order rather than succumbed to chaos, and provided support and sustenance rather than betrayal and impedance." - Choice

"This is a great story of the great plague of London in the 1660s... Fascinating." - Journal of the American Association of Forensic Dentists

"Based on sound historical research, this is a vibrant retelling of the social, economic, and political context of the Great Plague of London. Lloyd and Dorothy Moote's approach is refreshing and riveting. Their book should have a very wide appeal among general readers and will be of great interest to students and scholars as well." - William G. Naphy, University of Aberdeen

"I read this book with enormous pleasure. It succeeds perfectly on all levels, from new scholarship for academics to a great read for everyone else.... The interwoven narratives of Pepys and other witnesses give a wonderful feel of London's tensions. As an account of a city whose economy slips into crisis as a result of a medical catastrophe, this has never been bettered.... The care and craftsmanship which have gone into it are evident in all the chapters." - Roy Porter

message 4: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Here is one that I read and liked:

The Great Influenza The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry John M. BarryJohn M. Barry

message 5: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig This is still considered the classic on the black death:

The Black Death by Philip ZieglerPhilip Ziegler

message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 39814 comments Mod
Ah yes, the Black Death...thank you for that add and the one in message 4.

message 7: by Tom (new)

Tom Bryan wrote: "Here is one that I read and liked:

The Great Influenza The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. BarryJohn M. BarryJohn M. Barry"

I thought it was a great book too, I really enjoyed it.

message 8: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments Here is one that my husband read and said was interesting:

The Ghost Map The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson by Steven JohnsonSteven Johnson

From the goodreads blurb:

A thrilling historical account of the worst cholera outbreak in Victorian London-and a brilliant exploration of how Dr. John Snow's solution revolutionized the way we think about disease, cities, science, and the modern world. The Ghost Map is an endlessly compelling and utterly gripping account of that London summer of 1854, from the microbial level to the macrourban-theory level-including, most important, the human level.

message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 39814 comments Mod
Thank you for the add Elizabeth.

message 10: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (MsTaz) I picked this up at a bookstore recently, but have not started reading it yet.

The American Plague The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby by Molly Caldwell Crosby

In 1878, Memphis, Tennessee, boasted a population of 47,000. That summer, a scourge swept up the Mississippi River. By September, only 19,000 people remained, and 17,000 of them had yellow fever, transforming Memphis into "a city of corpses." The toll on human life surpassed the Chicago fire, the San Francisco earthquake, and the Johnstown flood combined. A century earlier, the U.S. capital was forced to move from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. in the wake of a devastating yellow fever epidemic. Yellow fever would become "the most dreaded disease in North America for two hundred years."

However, the best minds available disagreed on how to combat the disease. At the advent of the 20th century, Major Walter Reed, a surgeon in the U.S. Army, was sent to Cuba, where wards had been established to conduct experiments in hope of understanding, and thus someday curing, yellow fever. Reed and his gifted team members began the race to end the suffering, and would ultimately tie the spread of the disease to a tiny mosquito. To prove their hypothesis, some of the researchers and volunteers experimented on their own flesh, with deadly results.

Like Laurie Garrett's terrifying bestseller, The Coming Plague, Crosby's book comes with a warning, lest we become complacent. "Viruses have taught us one thing
throughout history, and it is this: That their will and ability to survive may be stronger than ours."

message 11: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) That does look like an interesting book Alisa.

The American Plague The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby by Molly Caldwell Crosby

message 12: by V (new)

V Does anyone know of a modern (20th/21st century) book that maybe has a chapter about the history of the sweating sickness in England? I think the best I can do is this 19th century book The Epidemics of the Middle Ages but hope I'm mistaken

message 13: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (MsTaz) Hello V. Interesting question, I have never heard of sweating sickness but we'll see what our members come up with. I'm curious about the answer as well.

Remember to post the book cover and author photo (when available) along with the author link when citing a book. In this case tehre was the book cover but no author photo, so it looks like this. Helps everyeone see what you are talking about and is a requirement for how we post in this club.

The Epidemics of the Middle Ages by J. F. C. Hecker J. F. C. Hecker


message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 03, 2011 07:01AM) (new)

Bentley | 39814 comments Mod
Here is a talk by a Medical Historian: (Sweating Sickness)

Medical Historian Dr Jim Leavesley from Margaret River, Western Australia, talks about the history of the epidemic of sweating fever, from the first outbreak in 1507 to the last one in 1551.

This is probably a question best placed here in our Health-Medicine-Science Folder - Plagues and Epidemics (right where you have placed it)

I believe this occurred during the Tudor period.

Here is a link which provides limited information but a map of dispersion:

Also, this free book on google:

Life and Writings of Sir Thomas More Lord Chancellor of England and Martyr Under Henry VIII by Thomas Edward BridgettThomas Edward Bridgett

message 15: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig And a New England Journal of Medicine article, which you can get from your local library:

Thwaites, Guy; Taviner, Mark; Gant, Vanya (1997). "The English Sweating Sickness, 1485 to 1551". New England Journal of Medicine 336 (8): 580–582.

message 16: by carriedaway (new)

carriedaway And the classic "Rats, Lice & History" Rats, Lice and History by Hans Zinsser Hans ZinsserHans Zinsser.

There appears to be no photo of him in Goodreads.

message 17: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (MsTaz) Ha! I'm not sure whether to be interested or a little repelled with that title. Dare I say it looks interesting though, thanks for the addition, carriedaway.

When there is no author photo it is not necessary to put up the no photo icon, as long as you have the book cover and author link together. Some people add (no photo) next to the author link which is not but not required.

Thanks for the post!

message 18: by Bea (last edited Apr 22, 2012 08:43AM) (new)

Bea | 1830 comments I am going to cheat. This is neither non-fiction nor historical fiction. Instead it is a classic novel that made a big impact on me, which is centered on people's behavior during an outbreak of bubonic plague in Oran, Algeria.

Goodreads Blurb:

A gripping tale of human unrelieved horror, of survival and resilience, and of the ways in which humankind confronts death, The Plague is at once a masterfully crafted novel, eloquently understated and epic in scope, and a parable of ageless moral resonance, profoundly relevant to our times. In Oran, a coastal town in North Africa, the plague begins as a series of portents, unheeded by the people. It gradually becomes a omnipresent reality, obliterating all traces of the past and driving its victims to almost unearthly extremes of suffering, madness, and compassion.

The Plague by Albert Camus by Albert CamusAlbert Camus

message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Apr 21, 2012 07:44PM) (new)

Bentley | 39814 comments Mod
Yes a good book and of course it can be added but you have to do just exactly what you did; specify that it is neither NF or HF. Adding these kind of entries is fine and appreciated as long as the distinction is made.

Great add.

message 20: by John (new)

John (JohnGlassie) | 8 comments The Ghost Map is very good.

message 21: by John (last edited Mar 15, 2013 04:53PM) (new)

John (JohnGlassie) | 8 comments One of the most fascinating books about the plague is
A Journal of the Plague Year  by Daniel Defoe A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe Daniel Defoe

who of course also wrote Robinson Crusoe. Defoe was only five when the plague hit London in 1665 and ended up killing as many as 100,000 people, but his reconstruction of events, published in 1722, is detailed and compelling. He uses a fictional narrative device to tell what is essentially a true story.

One thing that I always find amazing is that several months after the plague tapered off in 1666, the Great Fire of London began and burned for four days, destroying much of the city.

message 22: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 4030 comments These look interesting:

The Great Mortality An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time by John Kelly by John Kelly

A Time To Dance, A Time To Die The Extraordinary Story Of The Dancing Plague Of 1518 by John Waller by John Waller

message 23: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) I've read The Great Mortality and liked it pretty well. Learned some new things, one of which was that the plague reached Greenland, but the book is a little slow in places.

The Great Mortality An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time by John Kelly by John Kelly

message 24: by Peter (new)

Peter Flom Elizabeth S wrote: "Here is one that my husband read and said was interesting:

The Ghost Map

The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson..."

Steven JohnsonSteven Johnson

is really excellent. This was the start of modern epidemiology.

message 25: by Ann D (new)

Ann D I can recommend IN THE WAKE OF THE PLAGUE by renowned medieval historian Norman Cantor. It is a very readable, short (245 pages) account of the causes and historical consequences of the Black Death. This plague wiped out one-third of the European population in the 14th century - another reminder that we are so, so lucky to live now.

In the Wake of the Plague The Black Death and the World It Made by Norman F. Cantor Norman F. Cantor Norman F. Cantor

message 26: by Marc (new)

Marc Towersap (marct22) | 153 comments Alisa wrote: "I picked this up at a bookstore recently, but have not started reading it yet.

The American Plague The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby by Moll..."

I read that book! It was a great book! Highly recommend it!

message 27: by Marc (new)

Marc Towersap (marct22) | 153 comments And how can we ever forget the Ebola virus! The Hot Zone by Richard Preston Richard PrestonRichard Preston

message 28: by Peter (new)

message 29: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 39814 comments Mod
Great adds folks.

message 30: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Yellow Jack—How Yellow Fever Ravaged America and Walter Reed Discovered Its Deadly Secrets

Yellow Jack How Yellow Fever Ravaged America and Walter Reed Discovered Its Deadly Secrets by John Robinson PierceJohn Robinson Pierce


Yellow Jack tracks the history of this deadly scourge from its earliest appearance in the Caribbean 350 years ago, telling the compelling story of a few extraordinarily brave souls who struggled to understand and eradicate yellow fever. Risking everything for the cause of science and humanity, Reed and his teammates on the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Board invaded the heart of enemy territory in Cuba to pursue the disease--and made one of the twentieth century's greatest medical discoveries. This thrilling adventure tells the timeless tale of their courage, ingenuity, and triumph in the face of adversity.

message 31: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) There is not much in the GR blurb about this book but it got good reviews.

Plague of the Spanish Lady

Plague of the Spanish Lady by Richard Collier by Richard Collier


During the three months from October 1918 to January 1919 more than 20 million people died of Spanish flu throughout the world. The author of this history sets out to present the disease in terms of human experience, based on the memories of more than 1700 survivors.

message 32: by Peter (new)

Peter Flom Kathy wrote: "Plagues and Peoples

Plagues and Peoples by William Hardy McNeill by William Hardy McNeill(no photo)


Upon its original publication, Plagues and Peoples was an immediate critical and popular su..."

Kathy wrote: "Plagues and Peoples

Plagues and Peoples by William Hardy McNeill by William Hardy McNeill(no photo)


Upon its original publication, Plagues and Peoples was an immediate critical and popular su..."

I am adding this to my TBR pile.

message 33: by Marc (new)

Marc Towersap (marct22) | 153 comments Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus

Rabid A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik Bill WasikBill Wasik Monica MurphyMonica Murphy


Rabid is a quick yet entertaining and informative look into one of the scourges of humans, dogs, cats, racoons, bats, and other mammals, namely Rabies. Rabid opens up with a series of headlines of bobcats, otters, and beavers(!) attacking Americans throughout America. They then go back into history, discussing rabies in the ancient world, treatments (of which a few physicians of that time admit are basically worthless), and describe some of the symptoms, including hydrophobia, which is the fear of water. Human sufferers often desperately want water, yet cannot even stand the sight of it.

They then describe how rabies may have spawned three common horror monsters. Then they move into the taming of rabies, really starting with Louis Pasteur, who, while not curing those who are in the throes of rabies (hydrophobia, delusions, spasms, and eventual death), but if treated quick enough, can administer a vaccine that prevents hydrophobia.

Also discussed is how rabies works. Being a virus, it has a somewhat unique method of transmission through the host, rather than via blood/circulatory system, it instead follows the nervous system, inching its way towards the brain. This is why the vaccine has a short window to work. Once the virus reaches the brain, it's too late.

Also discussed is a possible but controversial treatment once it reaches the brain, and modern techniques for stopping infections of animals from getting out of control. And lastly, how some researches are looking into harnessing the rabies virus for treatment of other diseases and maladies.

message 34: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) The fear of polio, prior to the vaccine, obsessed parents since the disease usually attacked children. "Dog days", the hottest part of the summer, was the most feared period of the year, although no one could tell you why.

Polio: An American Story

Polio An American Story by David M. Oshinsky by David M. Oshinsky (no photo)


Here David Oshinsky tells the gripping story of the polio terror and of the intense effort to find a cure, from the March of Dimes to the discovery of the Salk and Sabin vaccines--and beyond. Drawing on newly available papers of Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin and other key players, Oshinsky paints a suspenseful portrait of the race for the cure, weaving a dramatic tale centered on the furious rivalry between Salk and Sabin. He also tells the story of Isabel Morgan, perhaps the most talented of all polio researchers, who might have beaten Salk to the prize if she had not retired to raise a family.
Oshinsky offers an insightful look at the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was founded in the 1930s by FDR and Basil O'Connor, it revolutionized fundraising and the perception of disease in America. Oshinsky also shows how the polio experience revolutionized the way in which the government licensed and tested new drugs before allowing them on the market, and the way in which the legal system dealt with manufacturers' liability for unsafe products. Finally, and perhaps most tellingly, Oshinsky reveals that polio was never the raging epidemic portrayed by the media, but in truth a relatively uncommon disease. But in baby-booming America--increasingly suburban, family-oriented, and hygiene-obsessed--the specter of polio, like the specter of the atomic bomb, soon became a cloud of terror over daily life.
Both a gripping scientific suspense story and a provocative social and cultural history, Polio opens a fresh window onto postwar America

message 35: by Marc (new)

Marc Towersap (marct22) | 153 comments Tom wrote: "Bryan wrote: "Here is one that I read and liked:

The Great Influenza The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. BarryJohn M. BarryJohn M. Barry"

I thought it was..."

I just finished that book too! I really enjoyed it! I liked how he started with the outbreak in Kansas, then went backward in time to explain the horrible state of American physicians, bad training, etc., how we caught up, then went into the plague itself, mistakes made, how it propagated via troop movements both in America and to Europe, President Wilson's decisions (I had no idea President John Adam's Sedition Act in effect got reproduced), etc.

message 36: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) This book takes a more social look at the illness than the illness itself. Her thesis is that the Belgiums and other Europeans' repression of the indigenous population of the Congo caused the spread of the disease of sleeping sickness which decimated 1/4 million people.

The Colonial Disease: A Social History of Sleeping Sickness in Northern Zaire, 1900-1940)

The Colonial Disease A Social History of Sleeping Sickness in Northern Zaire, 1900 1940 by Maryinez Lyons by Maryinez Lyons (no photo)


The Belgians commonly referred to their colonisation of the Congo as a 'civilising mission', and many regarded the introduction of western bio-medicine as a central feature of their 'gift' to Africans. By 1930, however, it was clear that some features of their 'civilising mission' were in fact closely connected to the poor health of many of the Congolese. The Europeans had indeed brought scientific enquiry and western bio-medicine; but they had also introduced a harsh, repressive political system which, coupled with a ruthlessly exploitative economic system, led to the introduction of new diseases while already-existing diseases were exacerbated and spread. Tropical, or 'colonial', medicine was a new field at the turn of the century, linked closely both to European expansionism and human trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness. In 1901 a devastating epidemic had erupted in Uganda, killing well over 250,000 people.

message 37: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) Having worked with people living with AIDS, this book only validates my opinion of how this epidemic was ignored and why. AIDS was a death sentence since little work was being done to conquer it and the public understanding of this killer was based on rumor and prejudice. This book will give you an inside look at these problems.

And the Band Played On; Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic

And the Band Played On Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts by Randy ShiltsRandy Shilts


By the time Rock Hudson's death in 1985 alerted all America to the danger of the AIDS epidemic, the disease had spread across the nation, killing thousands of people and emerging as the greatest health crisis of the 20th century. America faced a troubling question: What happened? How was this epidemic allowed to spread so far before it was taken seriously? In answering these questions, Shilts weaves the disparate threads into a coherent story, pinning down every evasion and contradiction at the highest levels of the medical, political, and media establishments.

Shilts shows that the epidemic spread wildly because the federal government put budget ahead of the nation's welfare; health authorities placed political expediency before the public health; and scientists were often more concerned with international prestige than saving lives. Against this backdrop, Shilts tells the heroic stories of individuals in science and politics, public health and the gay community, who struggled to alert the nation to the enormity of the danger it faced. And the Band Played On is both a tribute to these heroic people and a stinging indictment of the institutions that failed the nation so badly.

message 38: by Kressel (last edited Feb 07, 2014 11:45AM) (new)

Kressel Housman | 917 comments I second Jill's recommendation of Polio An American Story by David M. Oshinsky by David M. Oshinsky above.

An excellent follow-up is And They Shall Walk The Life Story of Sister Elizabeth Kenny by Elizabeth Kenny by Elizabeth Kenny Elizabeth Kenny, the nurse who invented a revolutionary treatment for polio with a better recovery rate than the established one.

message 39: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 39814 comments Mod
Great adds Kathy.

message 40: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 4030 comments The Great Plague: A People's History

The Great Plague A People's History by Evelyn Lord by Evelyn Lord (no photo)


In this intimate history of the extraordinary Black Plague pandemic that swept through the British Isles in 1665, Evelyn Lord focuses on the plague’s effects on smaller towns, where every death was a singular blow affecting the entire community. Lord’s fascinating reconstruction of life during plague times presents the personal experiences of a wide range of individuals, from historical notables Samuel Pepys and Isaac Newton to common folk who tilled the land and ran the shops. She brings this dark era to vivid life through stories of loss and survival from those who grieved, those who fled, and those who hid to await their fate.

message 41: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 4030 comments Justinian's Flea: The First Great Plague and the End of the Roman Empire

Justinian's Flea The First Great Plague and the End of the Roman Empire by William Rosen by William RosenWilliam Rosen


During the golden age of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian reigned over a territory that stretched from Italy to North Africa. It was the zenith of his achievements and the last of them. In 542 AD, the bubonic plague struck. In weeks, the glorious classical world of Justinian had been plunged into the medieval and modern Europe was born.

At its height, five thousand people died every day in Constantinople. Cities were completely depopulated. It was the first pandemic the world had ever known and it left its indelible mark: when the plague finally ended, more than 25 million people were dead. Weaving together history, microbiology, ecology, jurisprudence, theology, and epidemiology, Justinian?s Flea is a unique and sweeping account of the little known event that changed the course of a continent.

message 42: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 39814 comments Mod
Thank you Jerome for all of your add on these threads.

message 43: by Lakshmi (last edited Oct 15, 2014 09:28AM) (new)

Lakshmi Hayagriva Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World--Told from the Inside by the Man Who Ran It

Biohazard The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World--Told from the Inside by the Man Who Ran It by Ken Alibek by Ken Alibek (no photo), Stephen Handelman (no photo)

Synopsis :

Imagine a hot zone in which Ebola is being spliced—using the latest techniques of genetic engineering—with smallpox, the most infectious disease known to man. Now imagine that cocktail is meant for you.

For fifty years, while the world stood in terror of a nuclear war, Russian scientists hidden in heavily guarded secret cities refined and stockpiled a new kind of weapon of mass destruction—an invisible weapon that would strike in silence and could not be traced. It would leave hundreds of thousands dead in its wake and would continue to spread devastation long after its release. The scientists were bioweaponeers, working to perfect the tools of a biological Armageddon. They called it their Manhattan Project. It was the deadliest and darkest secret of the cold war.

What you are about to read has never before been made public. Ken Alibek began his career as a doctor wanting to save lives and ended up running the Soviet biological weapons program—a secret military empire masquerading as a pharmaceutical company. At its peak, the program employed sixty thousand people at over one hundred facilities. Seven reserve mobilization plants were on permanent standby, ready to produce hundreds of tons of plague, anthrax, smallpox, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis, to name only a few of the toxic agents bred in Soviet labs. Almost every government ministry was implicated, including the Academy of Sciences and the KGB.

Biohazard is a terrifying, fast-paced account of tests and leaks, accidents and disasters in the labs, KGB threats and assassinations. The book is full of revelations—evidence of biowarfare programs in Cuba and India, actual deployments at Stalingrad and in Afghanistan, experiments with mood-altering agents, a contingency plan to attack major American cities, and the true story behind the mysterious anthrax outbreak in Sverdlovsk. But beyond these is a twisted world of lies and mirrors, and the riveting parable of the greatest perversion of science in history.

No one knows the actual capabilities of biological weapons better than Dr. Alibek. Many of the scientists who worked with him have been lured away from low-paying Russian labs to rogue regimes and terrorist groups around the world. In our lifetime, we will most likely see a terrorist attack using biological weapons on an American city. Biohazard tells us—in chilling detail—what to expect and what we can do. Not since Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon has there been such a book—a report from inside the belly of the beast.

Praise for Biohazard

“Harrowing . . . richly descriptive . . . [an] absorbing account.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Remarkable . . . terrifying revelations . . . [Ken Alibek’s] overall message is ignored at great national peril.” —Newsday

“Read and be amazed. . . . An important and fascinating look into a terrifying world of which we were blissfully unaware.”—Robin Cook, author of Contagion

Biohazard Quote : "Since leaving Moscow I have encountered an alarming level of ignorance about biological weapons. Some of the best scientists I've encountered in the West say it isn't possible to alter viruses genetically to make reliable weapons, or to store enough of a give pathogen for strategic purposes, or to deliver it in a way that assures maximum killing power. My knowledge and experience tell me that they are wrong. I have written this book to explain why.

There are some who maintain that discussing the subject will cause needless alarm. But existing defenses against these weapons are dangerously inadequate, and when biological terror strikes, as I am convinced it will, public ignorance will only heighten the disaster. The first step we must take to protect ourselves is to understand what biological weapons are and how they work. The alternative is to remain as helpless as the monkeys in the Aral Sea.” ― Ken Alibek

More Biohazard Quotes :

message 44: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 39814 comments Mod
Thank you for all of the adds Kathy

message 45: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 39814 comments Mod
Thanks Kathy for all of the adds on the H-M-S threads.

message 46: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 4030 comments Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82

Pox Americana The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 by Elizabeth A. Fenn by Elizabeth A. Fenn (no photo)


A horrifying epidemic of smallpox was sweeping across North America when the War of Independence began, and until now we have known almost nothing about it. Elizabeth A. Fenn is the first historian to reveal how deeply Variola affected the outcome of the war in every colony and the lives of everyone on the continent. Her remarkable research shows us how the disease devastated the American troops at Quebec and kept them at bay during the British occupation of Boston, and how it ravaged slaves in Virginia who had escaped to join the British forces. During the terrible winter at Valley Forge, General Washington had to decide if and when to attempt the risky inoculation of his troops.

The destructive, desolating power of smallpox made for a cascade of public-health crises and heartbreaking human drama. Fenn's innovative work shows how this megatragedy was met and what its consequences were for the young republic.

message 47: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 4030 comments Flu: The Story Of The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It

Flu The Story Of The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It by Gina Kolata by Gina KolataGina Kolata


In 1918 the Great Flu Epidemic killed an estimated 40 million people virtually overnight. If such a plague returned today, taking a comparable percentage of the U.S. population with it, 1.5 million Americans would die.

In 1918, the Great Flu Epidemic felled the young and healthy virtually overnight. An estimated forty million people died as the epidemic raged. Children were left orphaned and families were devastated. As many American soldiers were killed by the 1918 flu as were killed in battle during World War I. And no area of the globe was safe. Eskimos living in remote outposts in the frozen tundra were sickened and killed by the flu in such numbers that entire villages were wiped out.

Scientists have recently rediscovered shards of the flu virus frozen in Alaska and preserved in scraps of tissue in a government warehouse. Gina Kolata, an acclaimed reporter for The New York Times unravels the mystery of this lethal virus with the high drama of a great adventure story. Delving into the history of the flu and previous epidemics, detailing the science and the latest understanding of this mortal disease, Kolata addresses the prospects for a great epidemic recurring, and, most important, what can be done to prevent it.

message 48: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 4030 comments America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918

America's Forgotten Pandemic The Influenza of 1918 by Alfred W. Crosby by Alfred W. CrosbyAlfred W. Crosby


Between August 1918 and March 1919 the Spanish influenza spread worldwide, claiming over 25 million lives, more people than those perished in the fighting of the First World War. It proved fatal to at least a half-million Americans. Yet, the Spanish flu pandemic is largely forgotten today. In this vivid narrative, Alfred W. Crosby recounts the course of the pandemic during the panic-stricken months of 1918 and 1919, measures its impact on American society, and probes the curious loss of national memory of this cataclysmic event. In a new edition, with a new preface discussing the recent outbreaks of diseases, including the Asian flu and the SARS epidemic, America's Forgotten Pandemic remains both prescient and relevant.

message 49: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 4030 comments Pox: An American History

Pox An American History by Michael Willrich by Michael Willrich (no photo)


At the turn of the last century, a powerful smallpox epidemic swept the United States from coast to coast. The age-old disease spread swiftly through an increasingly interconnected American landscape: from southern tobacco plantations to the dense immigrant neighborhoods of northern cities to far-flung villages on the edges of the nascent American empire. In Pox award-winning historian Michael Willrich offers a gripping chronicle of how the nation's continentwide fight against smallpox launched one of the most important civil liberties struggles of the twentieth century.

At the dawn of the activist Progressive era and during a moment of great optimism about modern medicine, the government responded to the deadly epidemic by calling for universal compulsory vaccination. To enforce the law, public health authorities relied on quarantines, pesthouses, and "virus squads"-corps of doctors and club-wielding police. Though these measures eventually contained the disease, they also sparked a wave of popular resistance among Americans who perceived them as a threat to their health and to their rights.

At the time, anti-vaccinationists were often dismissed as misguided cranks, but Willrich argues that they belonged to a wider legacy of American dissent that attended the rise of an increasingly powerful government. While a well-organized anti-vaccination movement sprang up during these years, many Americans resisted in subtler ways-by concealing sick family members or forging immunization certificates. Pox introduces us to memorable characters on both sides of the debate, from Henning Jacobson, a Swedish Lutheran minister whose battle against vaccination went all the way to the Supreme Court, to C. P. Wertenbaker, a federal surgeon who saw himself as a medical missionary combating a deadly-and preventable-disease.

As Willrich suggests, many of the questions first raised by the Progressive-era antivaccination movement are still with us: How far should the government go to protect us from peril? What happens when the interests of public health collide with religious beliefs and personal conscience? In Pox Willrich delivers a riveting tale about the clash of modern medicine, civil liberties, and government power at the turn of the last century that resonates powerfully today.

message 50: by André, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS - Music (last edited Feb 24, 2015 01:29AM) (new)

André (AndrH) | 2793 comments Mod
Research suggests that gerbils from Asia not rats would be to "blame" for spreading the 'Black Death'

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