The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History

The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History By Molly Caldwell Crosby, The American Plague The Untold Story of Yellow Fever the Epidemic that Shaped Our History In this account a journalist traces the course of yellow fever stopping in Memphis to vividly evoke the Faulkner meets Dawn of the Dead horrors and moving on to today s strain of the killer vi
  • Title: The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History
  • Author: Molly Caldwell Crosby
  • ISBN: 9780425212028
  • Page: 179
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History By Molly Caldwell Crosby, 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 DIn 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 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.
    The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History By Molly Caldwell Crosby,
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    About "Molly Caldwell Crosby"

    1. Molly Caldwell Crosby

      Molly Crosby is a best selling author and journalist Her first book The American Plague The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic That Shaped Our History was published in November 2006 by Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin, USA The New York Times hailed it as a first rate medical detective drama, and Newsweek called it gripping The book has been nominated for the Barnes Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, Border s Original Voices Award and Southern Independent Booksellers Award It was also chosen as a New York Times Editor s pick and a Book Sense pick.Crosby s second book, Asleep The Forgotten Epidemic that Remains One of Medicine s Greatest Mysteries, was released March 2010 Oliver Sacks, author of Awakenings, called it a brilliant and deeply moving account Publishers Weekly wrote, Here s medical curiosity combining history, mystery, and riveting storytellingThe remarkable human connection Crosby brings to this scientific oddity helps enlighten readers about a pandemic forgotten in the shadow of the contemporaneous Spanish flu Asleep was an April pick for Scientific American magazine and a May pick for Discover magazine.Her third book, THE GREAT PEARL HEIST, has been chosen for the Indie Next List for December 2012 and as one of Barnes and Nobles Best Books of the Month BN called it, one of the most engrossing true crime tales of all time Booklist starred review described it as thriller style and compelling popular history And Publishers Weekly called it a winning true crime drama, adding, the author highlights the case s major influence on British crime detectionding a dash of color and realism to a largely forgotten chapter of Edwardian London Crosby holds a Master of Arts degree in nonfiction and science writing from Johns Hopkins University s Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and spent several years working for National Geographic magazine in Washington, DC Her writing has appeared in Newsweek, Health, and USA Today, among others She has participated in interviews with NPR s Morning Edition, The Diane Rehm Show, C SPAN Book TV, John Seigenthaler s A Word on Words and Bloomberg Radio Crosby has also served as a visiting professor in creative nonfiction in the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Memphis, as well as giving talks around the country about her books Crosby lives in Memphis with her husband and two daughters.

    703 thoughts on “The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History”

    1. It begins with a piercing headache Movement becomes painful and the skin burns Fever rises to 104 or 105 The kidneys stop functioning, and abdominal cramps begin In the final days due to internal hemorrhaging, the patient vomits black blood The skin and eyes become bright yellow These are the terrifying effects of yellow fever, a disease that struck fear like no other among Americans For over 200 years yellow fever would claim 100,000 deaths in the U.S and shape the history of the country In fac [...]


    2. This book was interesting from an historical perspective, though it s descriptions were often needlessly hyperbolic, a flaw shared by many books that tackle infection as if the authors are worried that if they don t remind us that the victim became a palate of hideous color, for example, or that the family mansion had now become a tomb, we will get bored with the science and history and go away I don t regret reading this book, but I gave it a very low rating because of the extremely poor job th [...]


    3. I m always surprised by how much we collectively forget about our past This book sucked me right in, and made me very, very glad that I wasn t born 100 years ago It chronicles the history of Yellow Fever in the United States, and the effort led by Dr Walter Reed to understand, and eradicate, the disease Learned a lot reading this one.


    4. Although the style, primarily the hyperbole factor or at other times the grandiose sentimentality of the writing itself, did became annoying this still, IMHO, remains than a three star 3.5 to detailing the Memphis situation of 1878 and its subsequent results upon that city s history Also in the later sections, the path to the etiology of the disease Many names, and many personal histories most within their Cuban intersect years And what chances they took in their experiments Mostly with themsel [...]


    5. This is a fascinating story, but very poorly written And also poorly edited There are confusing syntactical errors, idioms the author weirdly doesn t get quite right, as if she isn t a native English speaker, and the overall tone is maudlin, overwrought, and florid The story is quite compelling enough without all the self conscious literary flourishes If this had been a novel, I would have quit after the first 20 pages But the history is good, and the information new to me, so I stuck with it as [...]


    6. My interest in this book was piqued by a series that appeared our local newspaper.The summers of the 1870s in the south was a scary time to be alive Just think about how bad mosquitoes are today and all the bites you get Imagine not knowing that these little insects were the cause of whole families being wiped out The horrible symptoms, the feare sadness


    7. Crosby has written a solid history of 3 events in yellow fever history, one leading to the other.1 the Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic of 1878 she focuses primarily on Memphis, the hardest hit area and the forensics that studied how the disease was carried to Memphis via a steamer that eluded quarantine in New Orleans Also successive cases that plagued the southern US and even northern areas in warm summer months and the need for research into what was causing this disease.2 the US Army [...]


    8. One of my book discussion groups is discussing this book this month I thought the topic was too depressing, and someone in the group mentioned that it contained a lot of boring detail, so I had decided not to read it The subtitle is The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, The Epidemic That Shaped Our History However, one of my friends in the group lent me her copy so I felt obligated to look at it.When I finally began reading it, I could barely put it down Parts One and Two, which describe the yellow [...]


    9. This book had so much potential I picked it up as a lender from my mom on a lark after reading the introductory chapter and thought it would be really interesting And in some ways it was However, Ms Crosby s storyline jumped around too much, seemingly without any rhyme or reason Also, I felt that she should have either stuck to the science bits or the history bits, or made the book twice as long In some instances, I felt that there should have been written about Dr Reed In others, I wanted the [...]


    10. Very well done and informative I would recommend this to anyone interested in Memphis, TN, Walter Reed, yellow fever or just history in general.


    11. Fascinating and enjoyable book Very informative First, Crosby shows us Memphis before the epidemic having a fine old time and then a ship comes to port bearing sick sailors from Cuba Sailors sick with yellow fever although often misdiagnosed as malaria The wealthy pretty much leave town Then we see how those who remain behind get struck down Some barricade themselves in the house but even they are struck down.Much dispute as to how people contract yellow fever through infected clothes, bacteria [...]


    12. As a life long Memphian, I have heard many stories of devastating effect on the city the 1878 Yellow Fever Epidemic had More than 2,500 victims are buried in Memphis historic Elmwood Cemetery founded 1852 I attended a reading at Elmwood Cemetery in early 2007 by first time author Molly Caldwell Crosby from her then new book She did a great job of describing the terrible effect of this horrible disease both in Memphis and elsewhere.


    13. This book was an amazing combination of medical facts and narratiev prose I really got into the story that was basically pulled together from death logs and medical journals It was amazing to learn about this period of my history that I didn t know existed Couldn t put it down fantastic NF writing.


    14. The fever attacked each person in the Angevine family, one after the other, until none were well enough to help the others It hit suddenly in the form of a piercing headache and painful sensitivity to light, like looking into a white sun At that point, the patient could still hope that it was not yellow fever, maybe just a headache from the heat But the pain worsened, crippling movement and burning the skin The fever rose to 104, maybe 105 degrees, and bones felt as though they had been cracked [...]


    15. A medical history along the same lines as Ghost Map and The Great Influenza, this book tracks, with expert detail, the history of yellow fever in America and some of the remarkable outbreaks of this virulent and deadly disease Carried to this continent by slave ships, yellow fever caused terrifying epidemics throughout the Americas and could still do so again This book is about the quest to understand the disease, and the tragic and heroic stories of the researcher who put themselves into mortal [...]


    16. I had a strong sense that the author had a sense of HOW one writes about epidemics, and it just soundedoverdone I skimmed the last 1 3 of the book.


    17. I just read a book about the lack of cooperation among politicians, religious community, medical professionals, and journalists to overcome health concernsover 100 years ago Carry on.


    18. A solid entry in one of my favorite genres, the popularized history The strength of this book is the historical research that the author has done into the lives of the principals and the fascinating topic of yellow fever Molly Crosby does a fair job of weaving the history into a engrossing narrative, but isn t quite up to the quality of the masters of the genre There are moments when the flow falters, places where points are repeated, and the characters never quite come to life, despite the deta [...]


    19. this was a really good book i enjoy a good disease plague book the last one was The Great Influenza The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History this one detailed yellow fever, how it came over from africa via the slave trade, how there was a HUGE epidemic in memphis, how that lead to the creation of the us government health commission or whatever the official name was , and how that lead to walter reed and others doing experiments in cuba DUDE i had no idea about any of this we know from t [...]


    20. This was a wonderful book Who would have thought that a book about a virus would be a page turner that I could not put down.


    21. Molly Caldwell Crosby has written a nice medical mystery the causes and cure for the dread Yellow Fever Yellow Fever is a nasty disease, featuring high fever, severe headache, undue sensitivity to light, extreme pain, shutdown of kidneys, abdominal cramps, and so on And, given the disease s name, page 2 e skin grew a deep gold, the whites of the eyes turning brilliant yellow Yellow fever began its course in Africa, and was transported to the New World through the slave trade The major part of th [...]


    22. The American Plague is divided into three parts 1 yellow fever s 1878 appearance in Memphis, TN, 2 a short biography of Walter Reed, and 3 other random yellow fever related vignettes The book is subtitled the untold story of yellow fever, the epidemic that shaped our history, but it s unclear why other diseases smallpox, polio, or even malaria are not the epidemic that shaped our history Nor does the author Molly Caldwell Crosby explain why at least a third of the space in her book on this Ameri [...]


    23. The American Plague by Molly Crosby What an interesting book I learned so much from this well written book Yellow fever meant little to me just a tropical disease that one never hears of these days But what a story that is behind the fact that we seldom hear of yellow fever today The book begins with how Yellow fever was brought into the Americas from Africa by the slave trade The Africans had some immunity to the disease having lived where it is endemic for centuries but when it hit the America [...]


    24. A great read that placed me in the shoes of the investigators, researchers and patients This is the kind of book that all histories should be made of It includes the successes and failures with detailed descriptions of some gruesome events that we should all be learning from.If this is, in fact, Molly Crosby s first attempt and she has chosen medical disease history to chronicle, then I say her future will be compared with Stephen Ambrose and David McCullough of different venues Her research was [...]


    25. A most interesting book which begins with the Yellow Fever epidemic in Memphis in 1878 which killed 5000 people and destroyed the city Citizens today see the virus of yellow fever as a historic problem but don t be fooled The virus and the mosquitoes that carry it are still close at hand Originating in West Africa the vectors came to the Americas with the slave trade and over the next few years claimed hundreds of thousands of victims The story then follows the time line of the search for its et [...]


    26. It was interesting, though scattered in its storylines there were than necessary The introduction to the yellow fever plague in Memphis was fascinating as was the middle section in which the Yellow Fever Commission in Cuba crept closer and closer to finding answers The conclusion, however, seemed a hurried compilation of everything I just read with added bits of history that I wish the author would have shared about and it was truly a waste of words and paper Repetitive at times, and filled wi [...]


    27. I love reading about how disease affects history There was little knowledge about the causes of yellow fever Even today there is no remedy This story tells of fear and heroes during one such plague of Philadelphia George Washington wanted to convene congress someplace else but had no legal right to do so The law was change as a result of this epidemic but that is only a minor part of this story They story is about the people who tried to help their fellow city dwellers Free persons of color play [...]


    28. So I read this one on accident I meant to read the American Plague Story of the 1793 epidemic that hit Philli I was confused how the one I was reading could be a Newberry Honor, because it was a little higher level reading than most Newberrys, now I know This one, however, was a well written, researched and documented book on the 1878 epidemic in Memphis, TN and the research that was done in Cuba that helped to lead to control of the disease Being married to an epidemiologist, I really appreciat [...]


    29. This book is split into three main parts In the first part, it takes us through the yellow fever epidemic that hit Memphis, Tennessee in 1878 In the second part, it looks at the doctors who tried to figure out where yellow fever came from and how it spread, including the human volunteer experiments that they performed In the third part, in current day, what is being done now about yellow fever I thought this was very interesting The first part, in particular, really drew me in, but even the seco [...]


    30. Yellow fever was such a horrific illness that took the lives of so many people It was touching to read about many of the medical and religious people who gave their lives in the fight against yellow fever It s hard to imagine living in a time when so little was known about the spread of diseases and viruses We are so blessed by those men and women who used their talents to gain the knowledge we enjoy now.The book was very informative, and I have to admit that now I m a little scared of mosquito [...]


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