A Melancholy Scene of Devastation: The Public Response to the 1793 Philadelphia Yellow Fever Epidemic / Edition 1

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In modern America, where the triumph over disease is often taken for granted and yellow fever has ceased to be a menace, it is difficult to appreciate the fear once engendered by this disease. The 1793 Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic was no mere round of sickness but a major public health emergency that paralyzed city functions, halted business and trade, and caused a breakdown in social institutions. The fever's devastating effect on what was then our nation's capitol is apparent in the grim statistics it left in its wake: more than 17,00 people fled the city for safer environs, nearly 5,000 died, and hundreds of children were orphaned.... The essays in this volume, reflecting recent trends in cultural and social history and the history of medicine, enrich our understanding of the epidemic by investigating in greater detail the city's response and the public's reaction to the crisis. How Philadelphia's various communities responded to the 1793 epidemic is instructive for today's urban societies, increasingly forced to deal with contagions new (AIDS) and old (tuberculosis, venereal disease)...

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of the American Medical Association
While this book is not likely to make any bestseller lists (unless Hollywood takes up my suggestion and makes the film version), it is a worthy addition to the libraries of those who study the history of medicine and health communications (and perhaps even future film buffs).
Chronicling a 1793 health emergency in what was then the US capital, Estes (pharmacology, Boston U. School of Medicine) and Smith (history, Montana State U.) lead ten contributors in portraying the social and medical history of 18th-century urban America. The panicked public response to this epidemic--"A Total Dissolution of the Bonds of Society" per one essay--is relevant to contemporary public health issues like AIDS. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881351927
  • Publisher: Watson Publishing International
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 210
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.91 (d)

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