Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Book recommendations

I hope some of you are enjoying reading the Coming Plague. I've mentioned a couple of books in class already but I thought I'd gather them all together here. Please add a comment if there are additional books you would recommend. I'm linking to Amazon not because I'm endorsing them or getting a kickback but because they host book reviews so you can read more about a particular book regardless of whether you buy it there or not. In no particular order:

The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat by Eric Lax- an interesting account of the discovery and development of penicillin. It focuses on the people and gives you a good perspective on the difficulties they faced.

Disease in History by Frederick Cartwright - a little old now but really a classic text on the impact of disease on history.

The hot zone by Richard Preston. The dramatic and chilling story of an Ebola virus outbreak in a surburban Washington, D.C. laboratory. Richard Preston has also written a book about the potential use of smallpox as a biological weapon called The demon in the Freezer. I like the fact he got Stephen King to write a blurb for the back including this quote: 'One of the most horrifying things I've read in my whole life'.

The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson. I think I already mentioned this one, a recent book discussing John Snow, Cholera and the origin of epidemiology.

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