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Readable and engaging, this book conveys readers through many of the most important epidemics in U. S. history. Stephen Gehlbach unveils terrifying scenarios in which unknown diseases raged across the countryside, claiming lives as they went. Their names--yellow fever, smallpox, polio--evoke fear even today. This intriguing collection of narratives also introduces some well-known characters who played pivotal and often controversial roles in the outbreaks and who were first to identify and begin the conquest of these dreaded plagues.
A fascinating account both for the general reader as well as for public health, medical, nursing, and allied health students, "American Plagues" teaches important public health concepts. It focuses on the principles underlying the study of disease in human groups and the research techniques developed to control its spread. This masterful account of the course of American diseases is a superb union of scholarship and storytelling. In our own chilling time of fearful threats to public health--from SARS to AIDS to all the dire ills that bioterrorism could bring--"American Plagues" belongs at the top of your reading list. Highly readable, "American Plagues" relays the most important epidemics in U.S. history. The author's engaging writing style helps readers understand the major concepts in the spread of disease and the roles of medicine and public health in combating epidemics. Current and classic medical studies are used as examples throughout the text.
American Plagues: Lessons from Our Battles with Disease
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