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Fever Season: The Story of a Terrifying Epidemic and the People Who Saved a City

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Fever Season: The Story of a Terrifying Epidemic and the People Who Saved a City Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

While the American South had grown to expect a yellow fever breakout almost annually, the 1878 epidemic was without question the worst ever. Moving up the Mississippi River in the late summer, in the span of just a few months the fever killed more than eighteen thousand people. The city of Memphis, Tennessee, was particularly hard hit: Of the approximately twenty thousand who didn't flee the city, seventeen thousand contracted the fever, and more than five thousand died-the equivalent of a million New Yorkers dying in an epidemic today.Fever Season chronicles the drama in Memphis from the outbreak in August until the disease ran its course in late October. The story that Jeanette Keith uncovered is a profound-and never more relevant-account of how a catastrophe inspired reactions both heroic and cowardly. Some ministers, politicians, and police fled their constituents, while prostitutes and the poor risked their lives to nurse the sick. Using the vivid, anguished accounts and diaries of those who chose to stay and those who were left behind, Fever Season depicts the events of that summer and fall. In its pages we meet people of great courage and compassion, many of whom died for having those virtues. We also learn how a disaster can shape the future of a city.

Review:

"Yellow Jack traveled from New Orleans to Illinois in the summer and early fall of 1878, killing 18,000 people and gripping national attention. Historian Keith (Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Fight) writes of the mostly forgotten three-month siege of Memphis by a virulent hemorrhagic fever whose origin was shrouded in mystery and myth. Spread by mosquitoes buzzing about Memphis's cisterns, the yellow fever's toll was horrific — but the response of the city's journalists, nurses, and citizens is what catches Keith's attention, providing riveting portraits of those who helped mitigate the fever's wrath. Among them were Kezia DePelchin, a dour and selfless Texas nurse who rose above the mass of health-care workers making what one man called 'a carnival' of fever season; John McLeod Keating, who never left his post as editor of the Daily Appeal; tireless Dr. William Armstrong, who offered his skill, and his life, to treat his patients; and Annie Cook, a soulful madam who turned her house of ill-repute into a hospital, illustrating Keith's point that 'you cannot tell in advance who will be the hero, who the coward, in a crisis like the epidemic.' Keith delivers a rewarding must-read for both history and public health buffs. Illus. Agent: David Miller, Garamond Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

While the American South had grown to expect a yellow fever breakout almost annually, the 1878 epidemic was without question the worst ever. Moving up the Mississippi River in the late summer, in the span of just a few months the fever killed more than eighteen thousand people. The city of Memphis, Tennessee, was particularly hard hit: Of the approximately twenty thousand who didn't flee the city, seventeen thousand contracted the fever, and more than five thousand died-the equivalent of a million New Yorkers dying in an epidemic today.

Fever Season chronicles the drama in Memphis from the outbreak in August until the disease ran its course in late October. The story that Jeanette Keith uncovered is a profound-and never more relevant-account of how a catastrophe inspired reactions both heroic and cowardly. Some ministers, politicians, and police fled their constituents, while prostitutes and the poor risked their lives to nurse the sick. Using the vivid, anguished accounts and diaries of those who chose to stay and those who were left behind, Fever Season depicts the events of that summer and fall. In its pages we meet people of great courage and compassion, many of whom died for having those virtues. We also learn how a disaster can shape the future of a city.

About the Author

Originally trained as a journalist, Jeanette Keith obtained her Ph.D. in history from Vanderbilt University in 1990 and is currently professor of history at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. She is the author of several books, including Country People in the New South and the award-winning Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Fight.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781608192229
Author:
Keith, Jeanette
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Subject:
United States - 19th Century
Subject:
US History-19th Century
Subject:
Health and Medicine-History of Medicine
Publication Date:
20121031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
BandW art t/o; match des.
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in

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Fever Season: The Story of a Terrifying Epidemic and the People Who Saved a City Used Hardcover
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$23.00 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781608192229 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Yellow Jack traveled from New Orleans to Illinois in the summer and early fall of 1878, killing 18,000 people and gripping national attention. Historian Keith (Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Fight) writes of the mostly forgotten three-month siege of Memphis by a virulent hemorrhagic fever whose origin was shrouded in mystery and myth. Spread by mosquitoes buzzing about Memphis's cisterns, the yellow fever's toll was horrific — but the response of the city's journalists, nurses, and citizens is what catches Keith's attention, providing riveting portraits of those who helped mitigate the fever's wrath. Among them were Kezia DePelchin, a dour and selfless Texas nurse who rose above the mass of health-care workers making what one man called 'a carnival' of fever season; John McLeod Keating, who never left his post as editor of the Daily Appeal; tireless Dr. William Armstrong, who offered his skill, and his life, to treat his patients; and Annie Cook, a soulful madam who turned her house of ill-repute into a hospital, illustrating Keith's point that 'you cannot tell in advance who will be the hero, who the coward, in a crisis like the epidemic.' Keith delivers a rewarding must-read for both history and public health buffs. Illus. Agent: David Miller, Garamond Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , While the American South had grown to expect a yellow fever breakout almost annually, the 1878 epidemic was without question the worst ever. Moving up the Mississippi River in the late summer, in the span of just a few months the fever killed more than eighteen thousand people. The city of Memphis, Tennessee, was particularly hard hit: Of the approximately twenty thousand who didn't flee the city, seventeen thousand contracted the fever, and more than five thousand died-the equivalent of a million New Yorkers dying in an epidemic today.

Fever Season chronicles the drama in Memphis from the outbreak in August until the disease ran its course in late October. The story that Jeanette Keith uncovered is a profound-and never more relevant-account of how a catastrophe inspired reactions both heroic and cowardly. Some ministers, politicians, and police fled their constituents, while prostitutes and the poor risked their lives to nurse the sick. Using the vivid, anguished accounts and diaries of those who chose to stay and those who were left behind, Fever Season depicts the events of that summer and fall. In its pages we meet people of great courage and compassion, many of whom died for having those virtues. We also learn how a disaster can shape the future of a city.

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