Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes That Fought Them by Jennifer Wright

Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer   Wright

 

I waited to write this review because I wanted to sit with this book and gather my thoughts (and take in others' thoughts about the book). I listened to the book and I have to say part of my enjoyment came from the tone/voice work of the narrator, Gabra Zackman. 

 

I began reading the book as if it was a historical look at different plagues and the science behind the disease/the spread/the cure or treatment. However, by the end of the first chapter I realized this was more of a historical/political science look at public health and uses times of plagues to show why public health matters and why a robust public knowledge of basic science is needed to address emergency outbreaks of disease as much as the laboratory and medicine side of science. It all comes together in the epilogue, where the lessons from the previous chapters are used to examine the AIDS epidemic.

 

I do have a small quibble with the book, as uses the term plague quite loosely. The Dancing Plague hit only a small part of Europe and lobotomies were a medical procedure that turned into a fad more than a disease that indiscriminately killed hundreds or thousands. 

 

Bottom line: this book is about the politics and policies of public health and public knowledge base of disease than about the diseases themselves or science. Adjust your expectations accordingly.