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Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical

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Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical Cover

ISBN13: 9781582341330
ISBN10: 1582341338
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Synopses & Reviews

From Powells.com:

Anthony Bourdain became an author-celebrity of sorts when when Kitchen Confidential, his tell-all memoir of life behind the kitchen doors in the ritziest of restaurants, was released in 2000. His writing is fast, fun, and chatty, so it is intriguing to see him turn his hand to a piece of historical nonfiction. And indeed, in Typhoid Mary, Bourdain profiles the legendary figure of Mary Mallon with his customary finesse and charm. Mallon worked as a cook in several wealthy homes before being discovered as the cause of several outbreaks of typhoid fever. After being tracked down (no small feat, the authorities soon discovered) and incarcerated for three years she was released, and almost immediately resumed working with food, continuing to spread the fatal disease she carried. Her reputation as a grim reaper scything her way through New York derived from her high profile in the media, where she was portrayed as malevolently continuing to infect people while evading the authorities and working under false names. Her Irish immigrant status and feisty temper didn't help matters, offending the genteel sensibilities of the time. Yet there is more to her story than her nickname suggests. Bourdain paints a vivid and sympathetic portrait of life lived by both wealthy and poor at the turn of the century, as well as wittily exposing the hypocrisies of the society within which unfortunate Mary Mallon found herself. Georgie Lewis, Powells.com

Publisher Comments:

From the best-selling author of Kitchen Confidential comes this true, thrilling tale of pursuit through the kitchens of New York City at the turn of the century.

By the late nineteenth century, it seemed that New York City had put an end to the outbreaks of typhoid fever that had so frequently decimated the city's population. That is until 1904, when the disease broke out in a household in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Authorities suspected the family cook, Mary Mallon, of being a carrier. But before she could be tested, the woman, soon to be known as Typhoid Mary, had disappeared. Over the course of the next three years, Mary worked at several residences, spreading her pestilence as she went. In 1907, she was traced to a home on Park Avenue, and taken into custody. Institutionalized at Riverside Hospital for three years, she was released only when she promised never to work as a cook again. She promptly disappeared.

For the next five years Mary worked in homes and institutions in and around New York, often under assumed names. In February 1915, a devastating outbreak of typhoid at the Sloane Hospital for Women was traced to her. She was finally apprehended and reinstitutionalized at Riverside Hospital, where she would remain for the rest of her life.

Typhoid Mary is the story of her infamous life. Anthony Bourdain reveals the seedier side of the early 1900s, and writes with his renowned panache about life in the kitchen, uncovering the horrifying conditions that allowed the deadly spread of typhoid over a decade. Typhoid Mary is a true feast for history lovers and Bourdain lovers alike.

About the Author

Anthony Bourdain is the bestselling author of Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, and the author of the novels: Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo. He is the executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Shoshana, December 30, 2009 (view all comments by Shoshana)
Bourdain's breezy essay on Mary Mallon is less factual than speculative, more of a pensée focused on cooks' employment and circumstances than a biography or social history. Some of his assertions are a stretch, and others are factually incorrect. It could have used a good edit for accurate content and consistent style. For maximum effect, read with Susan Sontag's Illness as Metaphor and Gina Kolata's Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781582341330
Subtitle:
An Urban Historical
Author:
Bourdain, Anthony
Author:
Whimsy, Breaulove Swells
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Location:
New York
Subject:
History
Subject:
New york (state)
Subject:
United States - State & Local
Subject:
Diseases
Subject:
United States - 19th Century/Turn of the Century
Subject:
Typhoid fever
Subject:
Quarantine
Subject:
United States - State & Local - General
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Edition Number:
1st U.S. ed.
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series Volume:
70
Publication Date:
20010504
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
160
Dimensions:
8.00 x 5.00 in

Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Food Writing » Gastronomic Literature
Cooking and Food » Food Writing » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » History of Medicine

Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical
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Product details 160 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781582341330 Reviews:
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