The Best Narrative Histories About Science And Disease

Molly Caldwell Crosby Author Of The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic That Shaped Our History
By Molly Caldwell Crosby

The Books I Picked & Why

Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History

By Erik Larson

Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History

Why this book?

Larson is a master at using beautiful prose to tell a historical story. This story of the Galveston hurricane in 1900 delves into science, history, and devastation caused not only by the unprecedented storm but by the hubris of men who believed scientific knowledge could conquer nature itself.


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Young Men and Fire

By Norman MacLean

Young Men and Fire

Why this book?

The elements of earth, fire, air, and young men come together in this tragic tale of the Mann Gulch fire of 1949. Told with Maclean’s unflinching and distinctive voice, it is a study in the ways a talented storyteller can completely engross readers.


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Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America

By John M. Barry

Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America

Why this book?

The story of the 1927 flooding of the Mississippi River was an inspiration for me in the way a natural disaster has such long-lasting effects on the people and the towns affected by it. It is much more than a story about the disaster; it shows the ways politics, culture, and society intersect with historical events.


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Awakenings

By Oliver Sacks

Awakenings

Why this book?

A highlight of my career was the opportunity to interview Oliver Sacks in researching one of my books. His scientific knowledge and insight have produced so many poignant and touching stories. No writer that I know of has been able to combine medicine with humanity in quite the same way.


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Seabiscuit: An American Legend

By Laura Hillenbrand

Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Why this book?

Part of Hillenbrand's story that is so compelling is the way she does not rely on straight reporting, although her research is extensive, and instead employs fiction writing techniques like strong character development, setting, and themes to weave together three storylines into a much more comprehensive and informative narrative about a moment in American history.


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