The best books about smallpox 📚

Browse the best books on smallpox as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82

Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82

By Elizabeth A. Fenn

Why this book?

I am a historian of early America, including the American Revolution, though I'm not a huge reader (or writer) of conventional military history. Published in 2001, Elizabeth Fenn's book was in many ways ahead of its time in emphasizing how military outcomes—and strategies—were often contingent on other seemingly unrelated factors. In this case, she argues that smallpox was a decisive force in the American War for Independence. The continental scope of her study, moreover, provides a link between that war and the ultimately successful military offensives that the independent United States inflicted on disease-weakened Native American peoples in the post-revolutionary…
From the list:

The best books about American disasters

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Book cover of The Good Old Days-- They Were Terrible!

The Good Old Days-- They Were Terrible!

By Otto Bettmann

Why this book?

This 1974 book, by the founder of one of the world’s great picture libraries, was a real eye-opener to me when I first read it. We are all nostalgic and look at the past through rose-tinted glasses, and so do I. But then we forget about the hunger and the crime, tuberculosis, smallpox and heaps of trash on the streets, the child labor, and the despair of the aged. This richly illustrated book, with its multitude of stories, set me straight. For instance, did you know that New York had 150,000 horses in 1900, each producing around 20 pounds of…

From the list:

The best books to make you grateful you live today

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Book cover of Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver

Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver

By Arthur Allen

Why this book?

Most of us can’t even pronounce the names of the childhood diseases vaccines have almost eradicated, nor can we imagine the parental grief, and childhood suffering, that those diseases routinely inflicted on families until well into the 20th Century. This comprehensive history reminds us that the development of vaccines was always a see-saw between life-saving advances, and terrible mistakes and failures.

From the list:

The best books to understand and trust the COVID vaccine

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