I'm so glad I gave the FBS book club and this book a try. I just started listening to this (borrowed from the library) and I am hooked. I think I want to put that Upton Sinclair book mentioned in the symphillis chapter on my wishlist. I knew of the leper colony of Hawaii already from an episode of Stuff You Missed in History Class, but it was nice to still dig into the story. And yes, in times of plagues, it is really optimal for the people to have a leader/ruler/community who is quite the problem solver and compassionate.
I am relieved it is not as bad as some of the reviews of the book made the writing sound like it tried to hard to be funny. Yes, there is sarcasm but nothing overdone.