A look at smallpox around the turn of the century Pox explores the history of the disease and of vaccination as well as the influence smallpox had on the role of overnment in public health The subject matter itself is fascinating in part because it is so sensational The history of vaccination and the horror stories accompanying it are what I term intellectually ruesome meaning it s interesting on a brainy level while simultaneously appealing to the basic
need for blood pus and utsDespite my fascination with the subject for blood pus and Black Nationalism: The Search for an Identity gutsDespite my fascination with the subject I found myselfetting a bit
bored from time to time as Willrich piled a stack of facts from time to time as Willrich piled a stack of facts big for my small brain to process At a few points the accumulation of numbers percentages and statistics which were taking page space away from the sensational anecdotes had me setting the book aside I don t want to Black and White Strangers: Race and American Literary Realism give the impression however that it was some sort of prurient need forraphic nastiness which kept me from enjoying the fact based sections of the book A larger part of the problem for me was the repetition of the same ideas or the same story structure throughout the book I honestly believe the book could have been cut by many many pagesWhat kept me Boggs: A Comedy of Values going though and not skimming was Willrich s writing I really enjoyed his style and at times found myself interested in how he was constructing his sentences in his word choice and pacing than I was in what he was actually saying Then the next super interesting tidbit or anecdote would pop up and I would once again be engrossed in the story It was definitely a roller coaster ride of enjoyment Some sections or chapters held my interest obsessively while others had my eyeslassing overMy ultimate judgment is positive and I would recommend this book to anyone interested at all in the subject The sections of the novel which really engaged me were prevalent than those which had me stifling a few yawns To what lengths may the state o in order to protect the public healthAs an American born near the end of the twentieth century and the daughter of scientifically minded parents I m used to thinking of vaccines as an unualified positive development and the major factor that protects us today from diseases like measles and diphtheria I started this book on the side of vaccinators rooting for measures that would increase the vaccination rate and limit the effect of inevitable smallpox epidemicsAs I learned about the dark side of smallpox vaccination my initially unualified support became pockmarked with doubt The vaccine itself had a well earned reputation for causing illness temporary disability or even death Even today smallpox vaccine is not considered terribly safe A lack of any manufacturing regulations at the turn of the twentieth century led to shoddy uality of vaccine and a number of children contracting lethal tetanus after vaccination Sometimes brutal compulsory vaccination campaigns for adults almost exclusively targeted poor immigrant andor black communitiesSmallpox led to the beginnings of federal disease control and prevention CDC and modern pharmaceutical controls FDA Perhaps importantly the legal conflict between the ideal of personal liberty in this case the liberty to control the substances that enter one s own body and the reality of modern urban industrial life where one s personal decision not to be vaccinated could expose hundreds or thousands of other people to the risk of disease and death was one of the factors that shaped progressive thought and led eventually to the New DealAnd I who was so sure of vaccination when I started the book am no longer certain of what choice I would have made if I were born a century earlier It really didn t take that long to read this the book just ot lost in the piles of books around my bed This was a very interesting study of America s last smallpox epidemic and the fight over vaccinations An appropriate read for this time what with the fears of an Ebola epidemic the discu. The untold story of how America's Progressive era war on smallpox sparked one of the Berlioz and the Romantic Century great civil liberties battles of the twentieth centuryAt the turn of the last century a powerful smallpox epidemic swept the United States from coast to coast The age old disease spread swiftly through an increasingly interconnected American landscape from southern tobacco plantations to the dense immigrant neighborhoods of northern cities to far flung villages on the edges of the nascent American empire In Pox award winning historian Michael Willrich offers aripping chronicle of how the nation's continentwide fight against smallpox launched one of the most important civil liberties struggles of the twentieth centuryAt the dawn of the activist Progressive era and during a moment of reat optimism about .
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Could produce the vaccine problems arose from some vaccines Including one location which experienced numerous deaths due to cross contamination One of the interesting stories centered around the head of public health making a challenge to the anti vaxers to prove they didn t need the vaccine eg to expose themselves He did not expect somebody to take him up on the challenge what happened I won t tell youPhase 5 CourtAfter the plague there were scores of legal cases concerning all of the aspects that the Government took John Marshal Harlan and Oliver Wendell Holmes are uoted extensively in this section apparently despite their both being remembered as progressive Justices they didn t always see eye
eyeThis book rises above the others it spends a fair amount of time covering the diachotomy between Government responsibility to protect the people and individual freedoms Many of the ideas which we hold today about freedom rose during these cases This book is incredible Sure I m a sucker for turn of the century anything but this book is way than that What is incredible about it to me is that it is written with the ease and accessibility of a typical journalist written non fiction book but with the nuance and argument of an academic book The book doesn t just trace the history of smallpox in Am Thrilling read seriously I learned so much history of pox the development of public health oversight the development of consumer affairs the rift between individual liberties vs social ood and Powerfully important stuff that people should know I wanted Ghost Map and I ot a textbook The founding of public health early antivaccinationism and all the raceclass aspects of vaccinations were really interesting but oh my od this was a slog This is a history book and makes no pretense of being anything else It is not trying to tell a story It is trying to recount and link facts into a larger picture It succeeds but at the price of being a bit on the dry side This will lose some readers but if you stick it out you will end up with a much clearer picture of an era rapidly slipping into our culture s memory hole The smallpox vaccination scare of the Bush years itself is already fading from memory so smallpox itself seems like something made up to scare children One ofTo EyeThis Book Rises Above The Others
the book s main points is that even in 1900 the major epidemics were already in thebook s main points is that even in 1900 the major epidemics were already in the People who have never seen the suffering these diseases can cause discount them easily but the overnment cannot afford to forget As a result the state went to extreme lengths to ensure compliance with vaccination laws We cannot afford to forget that eitherI found the latter section with
Its Focus On Antivaxxers Of The 1900s To Be Illuminatingfocus on antivaxxers of the 1900s to be illuminating looking at the antivaxxers of today In particular the events in Camden NJ shine a light on the thimerosol freakout of the antivax movement of today It s a ood read for those who appreciate the weaving together of webs of facts as much as the telling of a story I can t recommend it to those who need the story element for enjoyment of a history Using smallpox vaccination as a case study Willrich explores the broader progressive era movement in America late 19th to early 20th century the shift from liberty as an ideal specific to individuals to the One Touch of Scandal gradual adoption of the idea of a social liberty in an increasingly urbanized and interconnected society theood of the many can trump the sovereignty of the individual Decades have elapsed since the last variola major outbreak significantly deadly form of the smallpox virus leaving the eneral population largely unvaccinated and unawareunconcerned with its particular horrors Fledgling health departments across the country have identified the reappearance of the disease and issue mandatory vaccination orders to curb its devastation Unsurprisingly there s a strong class divide in enforcement the richinfluential are taken at their word that they ve been recently vaccinate. Rging immunization certificates Pox introduces us to memorable characters on both sides of the debate from Henning Jacobson a Swedish Lutheran minister whose battle against vaccination went all the way to the Supreme Court to C P Wertenbaker a federal surgeon who saw himself as a medical missionary combating a deadly and preventable diseaseAs Willrich suggests many of the uestions first raised by the Progressive era antivaccination movement are still with us How far should the overnment o to protect us from peril What happens when the interests of public health collide with religious beliefs and personal conscience In Pox Willrich delivers a riveting tale about the clash of modern medicine civil liberties and overnment power at the turn of the last century that resonates powerfully toda. ,
Ssion of what to do with people exposed to Ebola and the
about vaccinations possibly autism etc The book is well written and easy to read and understand even the science parts which are always a challenge for me I simply loved this book Willrich does an incredible job blending legal public health and cultural history He manages to be critical of the Progressive Era without sounding anti reform or anti progress In particular I appreciated the way he talked about the relationship between the post Civil War society and smallpox vaccination as a social rather than medical issue The information about how the US used vaccination as a tool of empirewar was also new to me and Willrich s insights are very thought provoking I cannot tell you how often I wrote a in the margin or flipped to the back to write a note to myselfThe book is incredibly well researched and organized Although there were a lot of names and places to keep up with I never found myself too confused or lost I cannot recommend this book enough to someone who wants to learn about public health s early days the early anti vaccine movement or the Progressive era It is not the uickest read but it is wellTalk About Vaccinations Possibly
Worth Your Time Ityour time It the fourth book on plagues I ve read this year the first one I read before we knew about COVIDOf the four this might be the most relevant to what is oing on in the world right now The book is broken into different phasesPhase 1 Origins and BlameWhile Small Pox has been around for centuries when it popped up in the US in the 1890s most people were not worried about it The disease wasn t identified for what it was *AND WAS CONSIDERED A BLACK DISEASE *was considered a black disease reading the first 20% of this book I thought it would end up on my black history shelf The authorities told white Americans that they did not have to worry about it As it spread the black community was blamed Non whites who caught it were thought to have caught it from black peoplePhase 2 SpreadBecause the authorities didn t recognize it for what it was the disease spread As a result of the Spanish Mexican War Americans took it to the Philippines and Cuba This section was fairly short and my least favoritePhase 3 ContainmentWhen the disease was recognized the authorities started to use different mechanisms to contain the disease This involved two major avenues of attackFirst Small Pox vaccinations was one of the first illnesses for which there was a vaccine Americans were pretty reluctant to etting vaccines While other countries had laws on the books reuiring people to Chameleon Hours get vaccines the United States had anti vaxers The Anti Vaccination Movement in the US predates the first American Vaccine The US passed laws and started to reuire vaccines Immigrants couldn t enter the US unless they showed physical proof of having the disease the poxes or could prove they were immunized either the scar or a letter from their doctor saying they had received the shot Needless to say anti vaxers found ways around both of those reuirements disfuring themselves to look like had the shots oretting a doctor to lieSecond uarantines and shutting down of businesses This was a period wherein federal state and local Chicago Architecture (Architecture Urbanism) governments started to flex their muscle to suelch the spread of small pox Businesses could not be open if they employed than 5 people unless they had all received a vaccine as proved above People couldn t travel unless they could prove their vaccination status particularly enforced on blacks and immigrants People couldn t enter the country unless they were vaccinated first Ships started forcing passengers toet the vaccine before they arrived in the US Governments starting uarantining areas and businesses where pox out breaks were discoveredPhase 4 ResistanceThis section was my absolute favorite parts of the book It talks about the early development of the anti vaxer movement and how due to non existent regulation concerning vaccinations literally anybody who owned a cow. Odern medicine the overnment responded to the deadly epidemic by calling for universal compulsory vaccination To enforce the law public health authorities relied on uarantines pesthouses and virus suads corps of doctors and club wielding police Though these measures eventually contained the disease they also sparked a wave of popular resistance among Americans who perceived them as a threat to their health and to their rightsAt the time anti vaccinationists were often dismissed as misguided cranks but Willrich argues that they belonged to a wider legacy of American dissent that attended the rise of an increasingly powerful overnment While a well organized anti vaccination movement sprang up during these years many Americans resisted in subtler ways by concealing sick family members or fo.