Pandemic Century : One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria, and Hubris
by Honigsbaum, Mark

Prologue: Sharks and other Predators1(16)
Chapter I The Blue Death
Chapter II Plague in the City of Angels
Chapter III The Great Parrot Fever Pandemic
Chapter IV The "Philly Killer"
Chapter V Legionnaires'Redux
Chapter VI Aids in America, Aids in Africa
Chapter VII Sars: "Super Spreader"
Chapter VIII Ebola at the Borders
Chapter IX Z is for Zika
Epilogue: The Pandemic Century361(8)
Illustration Credits421(2)

Chronicles the last century of scientific struggle against deadly contagious disease-from the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic to the recent SARS, Ebola and Zika epidemics-examining related epidemiological mysteries and the role of disease in exacerbating world conflicts. Illustrations.

*Starred Review* This engrossing history of the fight against pandemic disease explores how outbreaks emerge-usually when humans insert themselves into the disease organisms' environment in a way that provides a bridge to new victims-and how medical and epidemiological experts fight against them. It's a war, argues medical historian and journalist Honigsbaum, that we'll never be able to win, since new diseases will always confound our expectations. Honigsbaum explores the implications of this situation by investigating outbreaks and near misses from the last century, including Spanish flu, Legionnaires' disease, AIDS, SARS, Ebola, and Zika as well as outbreaks of plague in 1920s Los Angeles and parrot fever across the U.S. in the 1930s. Combining history, popular science, and policy, he describes each pandemic with journalistic immediacy, emphasizing the patterns that characterize responses to them. He makes the case that reliance on conventional scientific wisdom and technology has hampered the fight against pandemics by narrowing our perspectives and encouraging fear and hypervigilance. In response, he calls for attention to the social and cultural contexts of disease that, though it may not be able to prevent future pandemics, can help to understand and contain them. An important and timely work. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Powerful accounts of a dozen epidemics from the last 100 years.Journalist and medical historian Honigsbaum (Arts and Sciences/City Univ., London; A History of the Great Influenza Pandemics: Death, Panic and Hysteria, 1830-1920, 2013, etc.) begins this lively, gruesome, and masterful book with the 1918 Spanish flu, which infected 500 million people and may have killed more than 100 million. Many that followed, including AIDS, Ebola, Legionnaires' disease, SARS, and Zika, are familiar to most readers. Lost to history—but no less terrifying—were the Los Angeles plague epidemic of 1924 and the wave of parrot fever that swept the nation after 1929. All mobilized the best scientific resources of the time, with results ranging from dramatic to ineffectual. Fortunately, all eventually died out, but more are inevitable as humans crowd into cities as well as into the wilderness and jungle, where new organisms await; douse our bodies' bacteria with antibiotics; and exchange viruses with pets and domestic animals. "Time and again," writes the author, "we assist microbes to occupy new ecological niches and spread to new places in ways that usually become apparent after the event. And to judge by the recent run of pandemics and epidemics, the process seems to be speeding up. If HIV and SARS were wake-up calls, then Ebola and Zika confirmed it." Most pandemics arrived without warning. Physicians and epidemiologists quickly described what was happening, often wrongly at first but eventually getting it right after massive research, brilliant insights, and no lack of courage. As Honigsbaum amply shows, politicians and journalists often ignored bad news until they couldn't and then opposed measures that might harm the local economy. Since even medical experts tended to overreact at first, the media can be excused for proclaiming the apocalypse, but they showed no lack of enthusiasm. Avoiding the hyperbole that contemporary media relished, Honigsbaum mi x es superb medical history with vivid portraits of the worldwide reactions to each event. Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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