Customer Reviews for

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

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  • Posted May 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This is not just about the Yellow Fever, this book is not full o

    This is not just about the Yellow Fever, this book is not full of information. This is the type of book kids should be reading for history....Awesome..Well done

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  • Posted May 28, 2012

    Mosquitos can Kill!

    This is an intriguing novel written about the epidemic that swept through North America in the summer of 1793. The story is based on well-researched facts about the plague and includes the viewpoints of citizens, political figures, and actual articles from historical documents. Murphy writes this novel and leaves nothing out, describing the role of President George Washington, the newly drafted constitution and even the free blacks in this country. This story shows the ways and conditions of early American cities at the time of our nation's development. A very interesting story, that you will want to continue to read to the very end.

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  • Posted December 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer


    This book is quite informative for a chapter book! I found it a lot more interesting to read than all the history books about the Yellow Fever Epidemic. Throughout the book there was pictures that seemed to put all the information together. So not only was i learning through the words, i was learning through the images. This book would be an excellent choice for anyone doing a report on this disease or just anyone that wants to educate themselves on Yellow Fever.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2010

    Great Information

    This powerful, dramatic story by Jim Murphy traces the devastating course of this epidemic. The time period and conditions of the conditions that helped the disease spread throughout the nation's capital are vividly detailed and recounted in this powerful story. Jim Murphy does a great job in showing the heroic role that the free black Philadelphians played in saving their city along with the efforts of politicians and doctors, such as George Washington. The search for the fever's causes and cure provides a suspenseful counterpoint to this intriguing true story of a city under seige. I loved how thouroughly researched this story was as well as the fascinating glimpse into the conditions in American cities at the time of our nation's birth. It's a great story to have in the classroom because of the illustrations that it provides as well as the easy to read medical facts and information. Children will truly enjoy this story.

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  • Posted December 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    It is contagious

    Jim Murphy's informational book about the yellow fever is great. Along with providing primary sources as part of the illustrations, the details about the fever are incredible. The readers will understand the fear that the citizens of Philadelphia went through. This Sibert 2004 winner book is captivating and intriguing. It is amazing to read about all the things the people did to protect themselves from this disease, and what others went through in order to find the cures. This book has both cowards and heroes of the true nature. One may also choose to read the fictional version of this historical event, "Fever 1793".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2010

    A Nation in Devastation

    Told by Jim Murphy, An American Plague is a detailed, historical overlook of the mass outbreak of Yellow Fever in 1793 Philadelphia. America, just having come out of the Revolutionary War, was struggling to get on its feet with their mass financial debt, not to mention the oncoming French Revolutionary War which was on the horizon, excepting the US to return its generous favor to aid them in their revolution. The last thing young America needed was another crisis on the local level; however, that is exactly what ensued.

    Starting with a traveling French sailor, the disease rapidly spread, though, the town did not think much of it at first due to the coincidence of the time in which fevers commonly spread during hot weather. It wasn't until the prestigious Dr. Benjamin Rush, whom had seen the disease while an apprentice at the age of sixteen, took a giant bold step and declared it to be the horrific Yellow Fever (Murphy, 2003, p. 15). Ignorance and fear fueled disbelief, but it wasn't long until the evidence of an approaching epidemic of a plague, partly due to the amazingly rising death toll, was incontrovertible.

    The city soon executed a mass exodus, though others stayed behind, locking themselves tight in their homes. News papers issued lists of preventives, some reasonable, some just plain silly, and others caused more panic and paranoia.

    After about five months (August to January), the city seemed to be rid of the fever; however, the disease continued on across borders, devastatingly affecting other countries.

    Being a bit of a history buff, especially with events surrounding the American Revolution, I found this book extremely fascinating. This piece of work could be used, of course, in social studies lessons, ranging from the social issues caused by the disease locally and also how the disease devastated countries far beyond the U.S. border to international issues and how those events of the past have effected they way we live today (our personal lives as well as our government). Children can get a sense of the differences of time from then and now that is displayed in the book: life was not as easy on citizens as it may seem today where medicine and beliefs are concerned; the fact that the U.S. was just getting started; and, just because we won a great victory in the Revolutionary War obviously didn't promise that life would be easy at first.

    I highly recommend this book to teachers and children who are simply interested in American history. A great read for the American history buff - young and old!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2008

    A reviewer

    Jim Murphy¿s book has four major awards to its credit: Newbery Honor Book 2004, Boston Globe - Horn Book Award 2004, Orbis Pictus Award 2004, and the Robert F. Sibert Medal 2004. Having recently read this informational work, I can understand why it is highly acclaimed. Murphy tracks the Yellow Fever epidemic of Philadelphia in 1793 from its questionable beginnings to the bitter end. Information taken from the journal entries of the locals, as well as excerpts from the newspaper, The Federal Gazette, allows the reader to gain insight into how the deadly disease affected every citizen of Philadelphia. The use of these primary sources in the book make this a ¿must have¿ for any teacher responsible for instructing students in early American history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2005

    An amazing trip back in time

    A true informative and fascinating book for young and old readers. Loved to read and learn so much at the same time. Truly interesting for a non-fiction. It can be read like a novel. Congratulations!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2005

    Fascinated with history

    This book was good in details but to really get in depth in the yellow fever epidemic i really recommend fever 1793 i thought it was more powerful with a begger struggle and more developed plot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2005


    This is a really good book! It has lots of infroemation and really gruesome details!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2004

    Fever spreads throughout Philidalphia

    I loved An American Plague because it has a lot of terrifying problems. When the fever spreads it kills almost 3,000 people leaving 100 behind. If you want to find out more read An American Plague.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2003


    Reading this book, I discovered that long before SARS and West Nile Virus, America's first medical epidemic changed the course of history. Murphy seems to have a gift for weaving facts into absorbing and provocative stories about America's past. I couldn't believe that in summer of 1793, half of Philadelphia (temporary US Capital) fled the city; a quarter of those who remained died; without any papers George Washington fled and could not convene the government outside the quarantined city, setting off a constitutional crisis; and Philadelphia's free blacks heroically nursed the sick and dying and were condemned for their noble work! This is great, little-known history that explores US history and politics, the history of medicine, African-American history, and current day epidemiology. What Murphy has done for the Alamo (Inside the Alamo, Delacorte,) the Civil War (The Boy's War); etc. etc. he has done here. A read that I know will have my children and my students riveted. I can't recommend this book highly enough.

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    Posted July 22, 2010

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    Posted December 16, 2009

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    Posted February 18, 2009

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    Posted May 18, 2010

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