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2 Burnside Health and Medicine- History of Medicine

Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver

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Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:


A fascinating account of vaccination's miraculous, inflammatory past and its uncertain future.

In 1796, as smallpox ravaged Europe, Edward Jenner injected a child with a benign version of the disease, then exposed the child to the deadly virus itself. The boy proved resistant to smallpox, and Jenner's risky experiment produced the earliest vaccination. In this deftly written account, journalist Arthur Allen reveals a history of vaccination that is both illuminated with hope and shrouded by controversy: from Jenner's discovery to Pasteur's vaccines for rabies and cholera, to those that safeguarded the children of the twentieth century, and finally to the tumult currently surrounding vaccination.

Faced with threats from anthrax to AIDS, we are a vulnerable population and can no longer depend on vaccines; numerous studies have linked childhood vaccination with various neurological disorders, and our pharmaceutical companies are more attracted to the profits of treatment than to the prevention of disease. With narrative grace and investigative journalism, Allen explores our shifting understanding of vaccination since its creation.

Review:

"Vaccines are one of the most important and controversial achievements in public health. Washington-based journalist Allen explores in depth this dark horse of medicine from the first instances of doctors saving patients from smallpox by infecting them with it to the current controversy over vaccinating preteen girls against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer. One thing becomes very clear: fear of vaccination is not a recent problem. In colonial America, inoculations against smallpox were seen by many as a means of deflecting the will of God. In the 20th century, the triumphs of the Salk polio vaccine and the eradication of smallpox may actually have led to current antivaccination movements: 'as infectious diseases disappeared, in part thanks to vaccines, the risks of vaccination itself were thrown into relief.' Allen's comprehensive, often unexpected and intelligently told history illuminates the complexity of a public health policy that may put the individual at risk but will save the community. This book leaves the reader with a sense of awe at all that vaccination has accomplished and trepidation over the future of the vaccine industry." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Vaccines are one of the most important and controversial achievements in public health. Washington-based journalist Allen explores in depth this dark horse of medicine from the first instances of doctors saving patients from smallpox by infecting them with it to the current controversy over vaccinating preteen girls against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer. One thing becomes very clear: fear of vaccination is not a recent problem. In colonial America, inoculations against smallpox were seen by many as a means of deflecting the will of God. In the 20th century, the triumphs of the Salk polio vaccine and the eradication of smallpox may actually have led to current antivaccination movements: 'as infectious diseases disappeared, in part thanks to vaccines, the risks of vaccination itself were thrown into relief.' Allen's comprehensive, often unexpected and intelligently told history illuminates the complexity of a public health policy that may put the individual at risk but will save the community. This book leaves the reader with a sense of awe at all that vaccination has accomplished and trepidation over the future of the vaccine industry. 16 pages of illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"When I was six days old, I nearly died of chicken pox. This was explained to me almost casually by my mother six years later as she commanded me to sleep over at a friend's home, where another child was suffering from the rubella form of measles. It was just possible, Mother said, that I got chicken pox because she had been exposed to the disease during the final days of her pregnancy but had no immunity... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"This compelling narrative of the vaccine's undoubted triumphs and troubling challenges is highly recommended to serious readers interested in medicine and public health." Library Journal

Review:

"Allen deftly maneuvers as he wrangles myriad aspects of a very complicated issue into a comprehensible text." Booklist

Book News Annotation:

This history of vaccines in the US recounts the origins and development of vaccinations, from smallpox eradication to controversies over the causes of autism. Allen traces the evolution of vaccines for diseases such as polio and measles, public acceptance and later dissent by parents who claimed they caused their children's autism, and the related safety movement. He only deals with preventative vaccines and not therapeutic ones. Allen is a writer for Slate and was former Associated Press foreign correspondent. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

Arthur Allen is a Washington-based journalist who has written on aspects of this subject in the New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Salon.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393059113
Subtitle:
The Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver
Author:
Allen, Arthur
Publisher:
Norton
Subject:
History
Subject:
Preventive Medicine
Subject:
Vaccines
Subject:
Biology
Copyright:
Publication Date:
January 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
512
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » History of Medicine

Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver Used Hardcover
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Product details 512 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393059113 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Vaccines are one of the most important and controversial achievements in public health. Washington-based journalist Allen explores in depth this dark horse of medicine from the first instances of doctors saving patients from smallpox by infecting them with it to the current controversy over vaccinating preteen girls against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer. One thing becomes very clear: fear of vaccination is not a recent problem. In colonial America, inoculations against smallpox were seen by many as a means of deflecting the will of God. In the 20th century, the triumphs of the Salk polio vaccine and the eradication of smallpox may actually have led to current antivaccination movements: 'as infectious diseases disappeared, in part thanks to vaccines, the risks of vaccination itself were thrown into relief.' Allen's comprehensive, often unexpected and intelligently told history illuminates the complexity of a public health policy that may put the individual at risk but will save the community. This book leaves the reader with a sense of awe at all that vaccination has accomplished and trepidation over the future of the vaccine industry." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Vaccines are one of the most important and controversial achievements in public health. Washington-based journalist Allen explores in depth this dark horse of medicine from the first instances of doctors saving patients from smallpox by infecting them with it to the current controversy over vaccinating preteen girls against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer. One thing becomes very clear: fear of vaccination is not a recent problem. In colonial America, inoculations against smallpox were seen by many as a means of deflecting the will of God. In the 20th century, the triumphs of the Salk polio vaccine and the eradication of smallpox may actually have led to current antivaccination movements: 'as infectious diseases disappeared, in part thanks to vaccines, the risks of vaccination itself were thrown into relief.' Allen's comprehensive, often unexpected and intelligently told history illuminates the complexity of a public health policy that may put the individual at risk but will save the community. This book leaves the reader with a sense of awe at all that vaccination has accomplished and trepidation over the future of the vaccine industry. 16 pages of illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "This compelling narrative of the vaccine's undoubted triumphs and troubling challenges is highly recommended to serious readers interested in medicine and public health."
"Review" by , "Allen deftly maneuvers as he wrangles myriad aspects of a very complicated issue into a comprehensible text."
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