House on Fire: The Fight to Eradicate Smallpox

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A story of courage and risk-taking, House on Fire tells how smallpox, a disease that killed, blinded, and scarred millions over centuries of human history, was completely eradicated in a spectacular triumph of medicine and public health. Part autobiography, part mystery, the story is told by a man who was one of the architects of a radical vaccination scheme that became a key strategy in ending the horrible disease when it was finally contained in India. In House on Fire, William H. Foege describes his own experiences in public health and details the remarkable program that involved people from countries around the world in pursuit of a single objective--eliminating smallpox forever. Rich with the details of everyday life, as well as a few adventures, House on Fire gives an intimate sense of what it is like to work on the ground in some of the world's most impoverished countries--and tells what it is like to contribute to programs that really do change the world.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times
“Dr. Foege’s book . . . remind[s] us how fragile life looks.”
Wall Street Journal
“Bounces the reader along with him in his jeep, on motorbikes over rugged terrain and on bustling trains. . . . (And) shows what can be accomplished when governments and thousands of health workers focus on a single objective. “
New Scientist - Tiffany O'Callaghan
“[Foege] writes a mixture of memoir, dry public health guide and riveting tale of an all-consuming mission.”
“A reminder of the importance of preventive medicine.”
Medpage Today
“A great, quick, and intensely personal read about the inside story of Foege's revolutionary idea and powerful actions. . . . Foege was wise before his time.”
The Lancet
“Demonstrate[s] the enormous benefit that can accrue to mankind when a determined and ambitious band of individuals come together.” Guardian
“Gives an intimate sense of what it is like to work on the ground in some of the world's most impoverished countries — and tells what it is like to contribute to programs that really do change the world.”
Jrnl Of Community Health - Pascal James Imperato

Inspiring. . . . A fascinating human interest account that is expertly merged with scientific facts.”
The Bulletin Of The Royal College Of Pathologists
“A fascinating account”
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Product Details

Meet the Author

William H. Foege, Senior Fellow at the Gates Foundation, has held a succession of distinguished positions, including Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Professor and Health Policy Fellow at Emory University. Before becoming director of the CDC, he was chief of its Smallpox Eradication Program. Foege is the author of Global Health Leadership and Management.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations Foreword by Carmen Hooker Odom and Samuel L. Milbank Foreword by David J. Sencer Preface

Part One. Africa: Identifying the Key Strategy
1. A Loathsome Disease
2. A Succession of Mentors
3. Practicing Public Health in Nigeria
4. Fire Line around a Virus
5. Extinguishing Smallpox in a Time of War

Part Two. India: Meeting the Challenge of Eradication
6. Under the Rule of Variola
7. Unwarranted Optimism
8. A Gorgeous Coalition
9. Rising Numbers, Refining Strategy
10. Water on a Burning House
11. Smallpox Zero

Conclusion Postscript Appendix: A Plan in the Event of Smallpox Bioterrorism Notes Glossary Index

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Customer Reviews

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    Posted April 14, 2014

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