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Posted February 14, 2010
Just over one hundred years ago, a disease called yellow fever periodically ravaged cities in both the United States and Cuba. But despite the best efforts of doctors and scientists, no one had discovered the source of the devastating illness, or the cure. Determined to put a stop to the outbreaks and save future generations from harm, a team of army doctors set out for Cuba to face the disease head on.
Working with a Cuba physician, this team conducted experiments on human subjects, so devoted to their cause they included themselves in some. Even when the results suggested their best guesses were wrong, they pushed forward. One doctor eventually gave his life to the fever, but not before he'd started the rest of the team down the right path, to finally determine the cause of the illness and eliminate it.
THE SECRET OF THE YELLOW DEATH tells the story of those doctors in a straight-forward narrative style that will appeal even to readers who are not generally fond of non-fiction. The urgent need to understand the disease, and the risks the team and their volunteers take to gain that understanding, make the book at times as suspenseful as any work of fiction. Jurmain also clearly explains the scientific facts, and includes many photographs and illustrations to bring this time in history to life.
Recommended to anyone interested in science and medical mysteries.