Outbreak!: 50 Tales of Epidemics that Terrorized the World

Author:
Beth Skwarecki
Publisher:
Adams Media
Category:
Health

This book appeared in Advance Copy, a column in which NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here. Publication of NASW members’ reports in Advance Copy does not indicate NASW’s endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments, and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions. To join the discussion or submit your book, visit Advance Copy.

Throughout history — even recent history — highly contagious, deadly, and truly horrible epidemics have swept through cities, countrysides, and even entire countries. Outbreak! catalogs fifty of those incidents in gruesome detail, including:

  • The Sweating Sickness that killed 15,000, including Henry VIII's older brother
  • Syphilis, the "French Disease," which spread throughout Europe in the late fifteenth century
  • The romantic disease: tuberculosis, featured in La Boheme, La Traviata, and Les Miserables
  • The worldwide outbreak of influenza in 1918, which killed 3 percent of the population
  • The mysterious appearance of HIV in the 1980s
  • The devastating spread of Ebola in West Africa in 2014

From ancient outbreaks of smallpox and plague to modern epidemics such as SARS and Ebola, the stories capture the mystery and devastation brought on by these diseases. It's a sickeningly fun read that confirms the true definition of going viral.