An American Plague

An American Plague

The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

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Houghton

1793, Philadelphia. The nation's capital and the largest city in North America is devastated by an apparently incurable disease, cause unknown . . .

In a powerful, dramatic narrative, critically acclaimed author Jim Murphy describes the illness known as yellow fever and the toll it took on the city's residents, relating the epidemic to the major social and political events of the day and to 18th-century medical beliefs and practices. Drawing on first-hand accounts, Murphy spotlights the heroic role of Philadelphia's free blacks in combating the disease, and the Constitutional crisis that President Washington faced when he was forced to leave the city—and all his papers—while escaping the deadly contagion. The search for the fever's causes and cure, not found for more than a century afterward, provides a suspenseful counterpoint to this riveting true story of a city under siege.

An American Plague's numerous awards include a Sibert Medal, a Newbery Honor, and designation as a National Book Award Finalist. Thoroughly researched, generously illustrated with fascinating archival prints, and unflinching in its discussion of medical details, this book offers a glimpse into the conditions of American cities at the time of our nation's birth while drawing timely parallels to modern-day epidemics. Bibliography, map, index.


1793, Philadelphia. The nation's capital and the largest city in North America is devastated by an apparently incurable disease, cause unknown . . .

In a powerful, dramatic narrative, critically acclaimed author Jim Murphy describes the illness known as yellow fever and the toll it took on the city's residents, relating the epidemic to the major social and political events of the day and to 18th-century medical beliefs and practices. Drawing on first-hand accounts, Murphy spotlights the heroic role of Philadelphia's free blacks in combating the disease, and the Constitutional crisis that President Washington faced when he was forced to leave the city--and all his papers--while escaping the deadly contagion. The search for the fever's causes and cure, not found for more than a century afterward, provides a suspenseful counterpoint to this riveting true story of a city under siege.

An American Plague's numerous awards include a Sibert Medal, a Newbery Honor, and designation as a National Book Award Finalist. Thoroughly researched, generously illustrated with fascinating archival prints, and unflinching in its discussion of medical details, this book offers a glimpse into the conditions of American cities at the time of our nation's birth while drawing timely parallels to modern-day epidemics. Bibliography, map, index.

Baker & Taylor
Accompanied by black-and-white archival photos and drawn from first-hand accounts, a compelling true story vividly recreates the devastation rendered to the city of Philadelphia in 1793 by an incurable disease known as yellow fever, detailing the major social and political events as well as 18th-century medical beliefs and practices.

Publisher: New York :, Clarion Books
Copyright Date: ©2003
ISBN: 9780547532851
Characteristics: text file,rda
1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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There’s an invisible killer roaming the streets of Philadelphia—yellow fever. Its cause is unknown, and there is no cure. How do people deal with it?

k
kits90
Jan 05, 2014

I loved this book.
Jim Murphy is a wonderful story-teller.
He brought the details of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 to life.
This might be a "childrens" book but as an adult I found it fascinating.

I can't wait to read more of his books.

k
kalio
Feb 12, 2010

This Newbery Honor book, Robert F. Sibert Medal recipient, and National Book Award winner claims young readers are its audience, but it recounts a chapter in American history that should be ignored by no one. During the sweltering summer months of 1793, the city of Philadelphia was fraught with controversy. President George Washington was refusing to assist the French in their new war with Britain, and the freshly minted American citizens were angry. The French had helped them with their revolution, after all, and many believed the favor should be returned. So the increasing number of dead animals, insect swarms, and festering smells went unnoticed, even while church bells rang daily to announce more and more deaths. Eventually, one brave physician dared to put a name to the disease that was sweeping through the city: yellow fever. To 18th century ears, this was a death sentence. Yellow fever spread fast and had no cure. While some citizens fled as fast as they could, other remained to sooth the fevered brows of their friends and neighbors. Heroes emerged during the crisis?from famous countrymen like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who tried to keep the new government stable during this early emergency; to eminent physicians like Dr. Benjamin Rush, who possessed the energy to confront the disease; to the under-appreciated men and women of the Free African Society, whose members voluntarily stayed and became nurses and comforters of the ill. Journal entries, newspaper articles, and photographs fill out the story and provide those all-important first-hand details and points of view. By the time the temperatures cool and health is restored, you?ll be very glad you live in the 21st century, and deeply inspired by the men and women who fought the fever so long ago.

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