Plagues, Pandemics and Viruses: From the Plague of Athens to Covid 19

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Visible Ink Press, Nov 1, 2020 - Social Science
Pandemics can come in waves—like tidal waves. They change societies. They disrupt life. They end lives. As far back as 3000 B.C.E. (the Bronze Age), plagues have stricken mankind. COVID-19 is just the latest example, but history shows that life continues. It shows that knowledge and social cooperation can save lives.

Viruses are neither alive nor dead and are the closest thing we have to zombies. Their only known function is to replicate themselves, which can have devastating consequences on their hosts. Most, but not all, bacteria are good for us. Some are truly horrific, including those that caused the bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic plagues. And viruses and bacteria are always morphing, evolving, and changing, making them hard to treat. Plagues, Pandemics, and Viruses: From the Plague of Athens to Covid 19 is an enlightening, and sometimes frightening, recounting of the destruction wrought by disease, but it also looks at what man has done and can do to overcome even the deadliest and bleakest of contagions.

More than two years in the making, author Heather E. Quinlan was deep into her research and writing when COVID hit. She quickly saw the similarities to plagues from the past. Plagues, Pandemics, and Viruses: From the Plague of Athens to Covid 19 not only covers the history, causes, medical treatments, human responses, and aftermath of the world’s biggest pandemics, but it also draws parallels to the present. It chronicles the diseases that have inflicted man throughout the millennia, including ...

  • The differences (and similarities) between COVID-19 and other coronaviruses
  • The bubonic plague/black plague, which wiped out 30% to 60% of Europe’s population
  • The devastation to the indigenous population during the European colonization of the Americas
  • The 1918 Spanish Flu, which did not come from Spain
  • How disease “inspired” The Canterbury Tales, Wuthering Heights, the pop art of Keith Haring, and other art and literature
  • AIDS’ “patient zero”
  • How climate change will affect future pandemics
  • The aftermath of various pandemics
  • Several modern diseases making a comeback
  • ... and much, much more.

    Along with investigating some of history’s most notorious pandemics and diseases, Plagues, Pandemics, and Viruses takes a look at human resilience and what we’ve learned from the past. It looks at how science, the medical community, and governments have conquered or mitigated most epidemics even before they can turn into pandemics. It reviews the science of pandemics, preventative measures, and medical interventions and it includes an exclusive interview with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as other experts in the medical community. Richly illustrated, it also has a helpful bibliography and extensive index. This invaluable resource is designed to help you understand, and protect you from, plagues, pandemics, epidemics, viruses, and disease!



    Early Medicine
    The Black Death
    The Plagues of London
    Plagues of Africa and the Tropics
    Smallpox in the New World
    Sexually Transmitted Infections
    p 245
    DoorDie Battles
    p 325
    The 1918
    p 293
    Living with Pathogens
    p 184

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    About the author (2020)

    Heather E. Quinlan studied English literature at Ithaca College; she broke into the professional world as a children’s book editor for Sterling Publishing, launching its successful biography series for middle schoolers. She is now a freelance writer and filmmaker. Her documentary on the New York accent, If These Knishes Could Talk, was screened at the Library of Congress and is now available on Amazon Prime, while her writing has been featured in PBS’s MetroFocus, The Wall Street Journal, Medium, and the New York Daily News. She’s been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, CBS This Morning, NPR’s All Things Considered, the BBC, and BBC Scotland, and she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for her work on NatGeo Kids’ “Weird but True!” series. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, writer Adam McGovern.

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