Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic that Remains One of Medicine's Greatest Mysteries

( 9 )

Overview

A fascinating look at a bizarre, forgotten epidemic from the national bestselling author of The American Plague.

In 1918, a world war raged, and a lethal strain of influenza circled the globe. In the midst of all this death, a bizarre disease appeared in Europe. Eventually known as encephalitis lethargica, or sleeping sickness, it spread worldwide, leaving millions dead or locked in institutions. Then, in 1927, it disappeared as suddenly as it ...

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Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic That Remains One of Medicine's Greatest Mysteries

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Overview

A fascinating look at a bizarre, forgotten epidemic from the national bestselling author of The American Plague.

In 1918, a world war raged, and a lethal strain of influenza circled the globe. In the midst of all this death, a bizarre disease appeared in Europe. Eventually known as encephalitis lethargica, or sleeping sickness, it spread worldwide, leaving millions dead or locked in institutions. Then, in 1927, it disappeared as suddenly as it arrived.

Asleep, set in 1920s and '30s New York, follows a group of neurologists through hospitals and asylums as they try to solve this epidemic and treat its victims-who learned the worst fate was not dying of it, but surviving it.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425238738
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 362,528
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Prologue: Inside 1

Case History 1 An Unknown Soldier 5

1 An Epidemic Begins 7

2 Constantin von Economo 13

3 The London Outbreak 21

Case History 2 Ruth 29

4 New York City 31

5 Ruth 44

6 The Neurologist 50

7 The Medical Investigators 54

Case History 3 Adam 63

8 Adam 65

9 Smith Ely Jelliffe 71

10 The Alienist 81

11 Only the Beginning 92

Case History 4 Jessie 99

12 Jessie 101

13 1925 109

14 A Two-Headed Beast 117

Case History 5 Rosie 121

15 Madness 123

16 Rosie 136

17 The Neurological Institute 146

Case History 6 Sylvia 155

18 The Matheson Commission 157

19 Josephine B. Neal 162

20 Vaccine Trials 169

21 Sylvia 181

22 I Have Seen the Future 193

Case History 7 Philip 207

23 Philip 209

24 Gray Matter 212

25 Past or Prologue? 222

Epilogue: Virginia and the Forgotten Epidemic 227

Acknowledgments 231

Notes 235

Bibliography 263

Index 279

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2011

    Great book, but no pictures in the NOOKbook edition

    This is a great book on a topic that has been neglected. The case histories were compelling, the details were crisp and it was very enjoyable to read. I learned a great deal while I was entertained. Always a plus!

    Only gripe is that there are photos in the print edition that have not been included in this NOOK edition. I cannot understand why they were not included as they add to the scope of the narrative. I hope to get all the features of a print book when I buy a NOOKbook. This may put me off purchasing.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 21, 2011

    Typo city

    One of the most interesting books I've ever read! I loved 'The Great Influenza' so it was amazing to find yet another tragic consequence of that horrible time in our history. What I didn't understand was why there were so many typos in my e-book. It was very distracting and frankly, unprofessional.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    A compelling and fascinating view of a little-known epidemic.

    I learned about this book when the author was interviewed on the "Diane Rehm Show." I'd never heard of encephalitis lethargica or "sleeping sickness." However, I found Diane's interview fascinating, and determined to read the book.

    Crosby conveys the epidemiological history of this disease in layman's terms, using specific case studies to illustrate the wide variety of symptoms and manifestations in its victims. She discusses the various doctors around the world who encountered the disease, and provides a medical context for it as well as a social context.

    Crosby's writing is fluid, and the reading goes quickly. Yet she doesn't sacrifice detail. Some of the case studies include gruesome descriptions of things that victims of this disease did to themselves. But their stories are powerful, and I encourage readers to persevere.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Fascinating and informative

    The year was 1918, and while the world was caught in the midst of a massive war, it was also facing a quiet, but quite deadly strain of influenza that ripped through every country leaving a massive amount of death in its wake. Oddly, in the crux of all the horror and death, another disease surfaced in Europe that proved to be perplexing and completely stumped physicians. The patients suffered from anomalous sleeping symptoms, facial tics and often savage insanity. This strange illness eventually spread around the world, and left a profusion of
    permanently debilitated patients in asylums, and caused death in
    other patients. Physicians scrambled for answers to this unknown sleeping sickness, which was finally named Encephalitis Lethargica, and by the time they believed they had some answers, although not any concrete enough to consistently assist those suffering from it, Encephalitis Lethargica simply vanished from the world in 1927.

    This story is about the few neurologists, primarily in New York, who tirelessly studied this disease's effect. They visited homes and asylums, documented every patient and their unusual and devastating symptoms, spent further hours researching, and finally gave presentations on the disease to educate others. Their hope was to put an end to the ravaging effects of Encephalitis Lethargica before it reared its ugly ahead again.

    Molly Crosby truly has a knack for mixing elegant storytelling with researched historical events that entices readers right from the beginning, smoothly and consistently interests readers throughout with biographies of the key players, and well documented case studies, and closes with a personal account that brings the book full circle. Encephalitis Lethargica is a dreadfully serious disease, but is virtually an unknown and mysterious threat that continues to linger, throughout the world. However, thanks to this engrossing book, light is being shed upon the possible potential threat EL could have on people in the present day by exposing the events in detail that led up to the original epidemic.

    Readers should not be turned-off by this medical related topic when selecting their possible next read because although it is indeed packed full of research, it reads more like a fascinating medical mystery, rather than a stuffy research paper. Still, the book includes critical documentation that also makes it a crucial read for those in the medical field.

    Quill says: This is a well told and quite informative read about a virtually unknown disease, and is highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

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    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2012

    Riddle (Last one!)

    Who's becoming a warrior if they got this far? (Type in the first prefix of the word and go to the FIRST result of that word.)

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2010

    Interesting

    I was browsing my local B&N store when I saw this on the table. It sounded like it might fall along the lines of the same movie Awakening. It is. If you like that movie, try this book.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 16, 2011

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    Posted December 27, 2010

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    Posted November 28, 2011

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    Posted February 15, 2014

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    Posted July 10, 2010

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