When Germs Travel: Six Major Epidemics That Invaded America Since 1900 and the Fears They Have Unleashed (2004)

Hardcover, Pantheon Books/Alfred A. Knopf Books, ISBN 0375420959
Paperback, Vintage Books (2005), ISBN 0375726020

WhenGermsTravelThis is the story of six epidemics that broke out during the two great waves of immigration to the United States, from 1880 through 1924, and from 1965 to the present, and shows how federal legislation closed the gates to newcomers for almost forty-one years out of fear that these new people would alter the social, political, economic, and even genetic face of the nation.

From Amazon.com Review: Among the United States’ proudest 20th-century scientific achievements was the identification and control of many dangerous infectious diseases. But as medical historian Howard Markel reveals in When Germs Travel, quarantines and other disease-control programs often hid racism, nationalism, and class warfare beneath a veneer of public health … The six epidemiological histories here are gripping, and Markel’s style is reminiscent of Sherwin Nuland or Gina Kolata. Humanity is locked in an eternal war with microbes, Markel writes, and despite all efforts, “contagion cannot be confined to national borders.”

From Publishers Weekly: Markel argues that though quarantines of immigrant populations may have lessened the chance of major epidemics during the early 1900s, such measures unfairly punish people for being poor and sick. And nowhere is this more important than in developing countries, where rates of tuberculosis, cholera, malaria, AIDS and other deadly diseases are highest. As increased travel continues to shrink distances and bring people together, germs will also travel more easily; the prevalence of infectious disease, therefore, is no longer a merely local issue. As Markel warns in this informative and important book, we must work to prevent and treat infectious diseases throughout the entire world because “in public health terms, every city is a ‘sister city’ with every other metropolis on earth.”

From The New England Journal of Medicine: Markel describes modes of transmission, incubation periods, clinical features, and common outcomes of infectious agents in lay terms, but it is the behavior of public officials, infected persons, and the public at large that proves to be the most interesting and disturbing. Each chapter tells its story by presenting accounts of people who bore the infection and of those who were in positions to respond to the outbreak.

 

Read article here: New Republic Article Here

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Formative Years: Children’s Health in the United States, 1880-2000 (with co-editor Alexandra Minna Stern (2002)

Hardcover, University of Michigan Press, ISBN 0472112686
Paperback, University of Michigan Press (2004), ISBN 0472089803

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From The New England Journal of Medicine: This interesting collection of historical essays was presented at the University of Michigan in September 2000 at a symposium named for the first professor of pediatrics, David Murray Cowie. It is not intended to be a comprehensive history of pediatrics or child health, but rather a book that highlights the interaction among medicine, sociology, and politics during the late 19th century and the 20th century … Each essay stands on its own, and yet all the essays carry the central theme that medical developments are heavily dependent on sociologic and political events, which greatly influence their recognition and acceptance. I recommend this book as good reading for everyone interested in the development of pediatrics and child health in the United States.

From the Journal of the American Medical Association: This volume of essays chronicles one hundred and twenty years of children’s health in the United States. The stimulating, well-referenced, diverse essays provide an excellent broad view of children’s health from the historical perspective. It should be read by anyone interested in the health and social well-being of children.

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The Portable Pediatrician, Second Edition (with co-authors Michael H. Farrell and Jane A.Oski) (2000)

Paperback, Hanley and Belfus, ISBN 1560533625

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Quarantine! East European Jewish Immigrants and the New York City Epidemics of 1892 (1997)

Hardcover: The Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 0801855128
Paperback (1999): The Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 0801861802

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From Library Journal: Markel supports very effectively his assertion that although the epidemics were indeed public health threats, the quarantine of the Jewish immigrants had more to do with prejudice, class distinctions, and political scapegoating than with the consistent employment of the scientific method.

From The New England Journal of Medicine: Beautifully written and thoroughly researched, Quarantine! will appeal to both general readers and specialists in the field.

More Reviews

“Quarantine! unites the best of the two worlds of social history and clinical history in a narrative style so personal and at times gripping that a reader forgets that the book is meant primarily to be a scholarly text… Markel is as much spinning a complex yarn as he is writing a scrupulously researched chronicle.” — Sherwin B. Nuland, M.D., New Republic

“Markel does the best job I have seen of depicting the experience of the quarantined — as well as explaining something of the political and etiological/prophylactic debates that framed and legitimated the quarantine itself. Along the way he makes substantive contributions to Jewish history, urban history, and public health history.” — Charles E. Rosenberg, University of Pennsylvania

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The Practical Pediatrician: The A-Z Guide to Your Child’s Health, Behavior, and Safety (with co-author Frank A. Oski) (1996)

Hardcover: Scientific American/W.H. Freeman, ISBN 0716728974
Paperback: Scientific American/W.H. Freeman, ISBN 0716728966

PracPedThis childcare book covers the health and well-being of children in the first eight years of life. Topics are presented in dictionary format, with handy cross-references and a thorough index.

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The H.L. Mencken Baby Book (with co-author Frank A. Oski) (1989)

Hardcover: Hanley and Belfus, ISBN 0932883222

HLM_babybookIncludes an account of the circumstances in which Mencken’s book was written and how it launched his lifelong friendship and collaboration with its editor, Theodore Dreiser. The authors also offer contemporary perspectives to highlight what has and has not changed in the care of infants.

From the American Journal of Diseases of Children: How’s that again? A baby book by H. L. Mencken, the great Baltimore, Md, curmudgeon? An oxymoron for sure! Amazing? Apparently not. In the summer of 1907, a physician, a magazine editor, and a reporter in Baltimore (Mencken) joined forces to prepare a series of magazine articles that culminated in a book entitled, What You Ought to Know about Your Baby (Butterick, 1910) … [The authors] review the collaboration of Mencken, Leonard Hershberg (the physician), and Theodore Dreiser (the magazine editor), and include a complete reproduction of the original text.

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