The American Plague

( 22 )

Overview

In this account, a journalist traces the course of yellow fever, stopping in 1878 Memphis to "vividly [evoke] the Faulkner-meets-'Dawn of the Dead' horrors,"*-and moving on to today's strain of the killer virus.

Over the course of history, yellow fever has paralyzed governments, halted commerce, quarantined cities, moved the U.S. capital, and altered the outcome of wars. During a single summer in Memphis alone, it cost more lives than the ...

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The American Plague

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Overview

In this account, a journalist traces the course of yellow fever, stopping in 1878 Memphis to "vividly [evoke] the Faulkner-meets-'Dawn of the Dead' horrors,"*-and moving on to today's strain of the killer virus.

Over the course of history, yellow fever has paralyzed governments, halted commerce, quarantined cities, moved the U.S. capital, and altered the outcome of wars. During a single summer in Memphis alone, it cost more lives than the Chicago fire, the San Francisco earthquake, and the Johnstown flood combined.

In 1900, the U.S. sent three doctors to Cuba to discover how yellow fever was spread. There, they launched one of history's most controversial human studies. Compelling and terrifying, The American Plague depicts the story of yellow fever and its reign in this country-and in Africa, where even today it strikes thousands every year. With "arresting tales of heroism,"** it is a story as much about the nature of human beings as it is about the nature of disease.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425217757
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/4/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 169,395
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Molly Caldwell Crosby has previously worked for National Geographic magazine, and her writing has appeared in Newsweek, Health, and USA Today, among others.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 2, 2009

    An awesome book! Well worth reading. Informative and enjoyable read.

    This book is well reasearched with lots of facts. The author personalizes the biographical accounts of those she talks about. It is a non-fiction book but reads like a novel. I enjoyed it very much. I admire all the charity workers, doctors, and scientists who sacrificed their own lives while trying to care for and control this horrible disease. Yellow fever is a hideous infection that causes a horrible death in a matter of days. We should be grateful to those who worked so hard for near eradication of the disease.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 16, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2011

    Great book, amazingly done

    The American Plague is an account of the Yellow Fever epidemic in the United States that ended in Memphis is 1878. The research the Caldwell Crosby has done seems to have been very exstensive, and the way that she presents it as a non-fiction story is very impressive. Once I started reading I could not put this book down until the end. It was a very well written book and was very fun to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2007

    A fine book, but falls short

    The American Plague never lives up to the hype that has been heaped on it. Having read 'Locust: The Devastating Rise and Mysterious Disappearance of the Insect That Shaped the American Frontier' a few months past, I was hoping for a similarly griping account of another late 1800's plague, and how the early American scientific community mobilized against the problem. 'The American Plague' couldn't deliver. More background and depth would have fleshed out the many historical characters and critical events.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2007

    An awesome and inspirational historical account

    More than half the population (25,000 people) left the city in three days 19,000 remained and 17,000 of them caught yellow fever. It's a story of mass panic, tragedy and the heros who fearlessly confronted an unknown disease. Well written and documented.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2006

    Couldn't put it down

    I read the New York Times Sunday review of this book. It made me buy it. I read the book in two days (and I'm a slow reader). Very engrossing and thought provoking. I never knew the real story behind this terrible virus or more importantly the incredible stories of the heroes involved. We need more people like the Doctors, nuns and volunteers in this epic story. I can't wait to see what Molly Crosby writes next!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2006

    Gripping!

    I read an early review of this book and had to buy it - pre-ordered it here and read it in one sitting. I relish literary non-fiction - The Perfect Storm, Devil in the White City, Ghost Soldiers, and others. There are few writers in this genre at least with any recognizable talent. This book was gripping from start to finish - great pace - beautiful writing - just the right amount of details that tell - I felt truly in the places Crosby described. I can't wait for Crosby's next book! I hope it's soon . . . . Conrad Meddows Potomac, MD

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