Epidemics in History

A booklist for reading about epidemics in History.

Updated February 27, 2023
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The ghost map : the story of London's most terrifying epidemic--and how it changed science, cities, and the modern world
Johnson, Steven
A thrilling account of the worst cholera outbreak in Victorian London and a brilliant exploration of how Dr John Snow's solution revolutionised the way people think about disease, cities, science and the modern world. This is an endlessly fascinating and compelling account of the summer of 1854,...
Flu : the story of the great influenza pandemic of 1918 and the search for the virus that caused it
Kolata, Gina Bari
The fascinating, true story of the world's deadliest disease. In 1918, the Great Flu Epidemic felled the young and healthy virtually overnight. An estimated forty million people died as the epidemic raged. Children were left orphaned and families were devastated. As many American soldiers were...
SARS : how a global epidemic was stopped
SARS caused more fear and social disruption than any other diseases of our time. While it killed a relatively small number of people it nevertheless buckled economies crippled international trade and travel and emptied the streets of some of the world's most prosperous cities. Where did...
The coming plague : newly emerging diseases in a world out of balance
Garrett, Laurie.
An exploration of the battle against microbes, based on research in virology, molecular biology, disease ecology, and medicine, examines the current outbreak of infectious diseases and outlines what can be done to prevent the coming plague.
Spillover : animal infections and the next human pandemic
Quammen, David
In 2020, the novel coronavirus gripped the world in a global pandemic and led to the death of hundreds of thousands. The source of the previously unknown virus? Bats. This phenomenon--in which a new pathogen comes to humans from wildlife--is known as spillover, and it may not be long before it...
The pandemic century : one hundred years of panic, hysteria, and hubris
Honigsbaum, Mark
Ever since the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, scientists have dreamed of preventing catastrophic outbreaks of infectious disease. Yet despite a century of medical progress, viral and bacterial disasters continue to take us by surprise, inciting panic and dominating news cycles. From the Spanish...
Coronavirus Politics The Comparative Politics and Policy of COVID-19
Fonseca, Elize Massard da
COVID-19 is the most significant global crisis of any of our lifetimes. The numbers have been stupefying, whether of infection and mortality, the scale of public health measures, or the economic consequences of shutdown. Coronavirus Politics identifies key threads in the global...
Plagues & poxes : the impact of human history on epidemic disease
Bollet, Alfred J.
"Since publication of the initial version of Plagues & Poxes in 1987, which had the optimistic subtitle "The Rise and Fall of Epidemic Disease," the rise of new diseases such as AIDS and the deliberate modification and weaponization of diseases such as anthrax have changed the way we perceive...
Epidemics and society from the Black Death to the present
Snowden, Frank M.
A wide-ranging study that illuminates the connection between epidemic diseases and societal change, from the Black Death to Ebola
Flu hunter : unlocking the secrets of a virus
Webster, Robert G.
Deadly outbreaks : how medical detectives save lives threatened by killer pandemics, exotic viruses, and drug-resistant parasites
Levitt, Alexandra M.
Despite advances in health care, infectious microbes continue to be a formidable adversary to scientists and doctors. Vaccines and antibiotics, the mainstays of modern medicine, have not been able to conquer infectious microbes because of their amazing ability to adapt, evolve, and spread to new...
Beasts of the earth animals, humans, and disease
Torrey, E. Fuller
Humans have lived in close proximity to other animals for thousands of years. Recent scientific studies have even shown that the presence of animals has a positive effect on our physical and mental health. People with pets typically have lower blood pressure, show fewer symptoms of...
The fourth horseman : a short history of epidemics, plagues, famine and other scourges
Nikiforuk, Andrew

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