BN.com Gift Guide

Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic That Remains One of Medicine's Greatest Mysteries [NOOK Book]

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 ...
See more details below
Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic That Remains One of Medicine's Greatest Mysteries

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
BN.com price

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.


Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Here’s medical curiosity combining history, mystery, and riveting storytelling. Crosby (The American Plague) relates the vexing appearance during WWI of encephalitis lethargica—sleeping sickness—through the stories of patients, doctors, and public health servants swept up in an epidemic that affected as many as five million people worldwide in a little over a decade. Despite a high mortality rate, writes Crosby, surviving the epidemic was worse than dying from it. Survivors were left insane and locked in a statue-like immobility. As interesting to Crosby as the mystery of sleeping sickness’s sudden appearance and spread, possibly in tandem with the Spanish flu, is the aftermath, which taxed the burgeoning fields of neurology and mental health. The mystery of the epidemic isn’t yet solved, leaving concerns about a future recurrence. The remarkable human connection Crosby brings to this scientific oddity helps enlighten readers about a pandemic forgotten in the shadow of the contemporaneous Spanish flu and till now memorialized only in Oliver Sacks’s Awakening. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
The engaging story of the outbreak of a bizarre disease. In 1917, a young neurologist named Dr. Constantin von Economo was faced with a sudden influx of unusual patients at a clinic in Vienna, Austria. They exhibited a bizarre array of symptoms, including uncontrollable blinking, twitching, salivating or other tics-or even psychotic behavior. Others were locked in a catatonic state. All the patients had one symptom in common-difficulty staying awake. Indeed, some patients fell deeply asleep and never woke up. Autopsies showed that patients had swelling in the section of the brain that controls sleep. Von Economo identified the disease, which became known as encephalitis lethargica-sleeping sickness-but neither he nor anyone else could pinpoint what was causing it. It became a worldwide epidemic during the next few years, affecting millions-but after 1927, the epidemic tapered off, and new cases became rare. Crosby (The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History, 2006) relates the history of encephalitis lethargica by using several case studies. They range from a New York girl who had violent seizures and then fell into a sleep from which she never awoke, to a woman whose disease drove her to grotesque self-harm-including tearing out her own eyes. Some of the catatonic victims of the disease became the subject of Oliver Sacks's book Awakenings (1973) which was later made into a film. Crosby is a fine storyteller, peppering her case studies with facts about the history of neurology and details about 1910s New York. She also provides fully realized portraits of not only her case studies' patients, but also the brilliant doctors who treated them,such as Frederick Tilney, a neurologist who later gained fame for his study of Helen Keller, and Josephine B. Neal, a rare female bacteriologist, neurologist and encephalitis expert in a male-dominated profession. Crosby also provides the latest theories of the causes of this strange disease, the origins of which are still elusive. A capable, readable account of a medical mystery. Agent: Ellen Geiger/Frances Goldin Literary Agency
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101185681
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 3/2/2010
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 265,276
  • File size: 383 KB

Meet the Author

Molly Caldwell Crosby holds an MFA in nonfiction and science writing from John Hopkins University and previously worked for National Geographic magazine. Her writing has appeared in Newsweek, Health, and USA Today.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Prologue: Inside 1

Case History One: An Unknown Soldier 5

1 An Epidemic Begins 7

2 Constantin von Economo 13

3 The London Outbreak 21

Case History Two: Ruth 29

4 New York City 31

5 Ruth 44

6 The Neurologist 50

7 The Medical Investigators 54

Case History Three: Adam 63

8 Adam 65

9 Smith Ely Jelliffe 71

10 The Alienist 81

11 Only the Beginning 92

Case History Four: Jessie 99

12 Jessie 101

13 1925 109

14 A Two-Headed Beast 117

Case History Five: Rosie 121

15 Madness 123

16 Rosie 136

17 The Neurological Institute 146

Case History Six: 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 Seven: 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

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

    .

    .

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)