Book Review: Pox — An American History by Michael Willrich

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I got this book for free as part of the TLC Book Tour pro­mo­tion.

My rat­ing for Pox: An Amer­i­can His­tory — 4

"Pox: An Amer­i­can His­tory" by Michael Will­rich is a non-fiction book which traces how the small­pox vac­cine was dis­trib­uted dur­ing major out­breaks. Some of the vac­cines were forced onto peo­ple which caused an out­rage and the ques­tion made it all the way to the Supreme Court.

  • 400 pages
  • Pub­lisher: Pen­guin Press HC
  • ISBN: 1594202869

Pur­chase “Pox: An Amer­i­can His­tory” through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on:
Ama­zon |Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK

To my great sur­prise, "Pox: An Amer­i­can His­tory" by Michael Will­rich is an extremely read­able and fast paced book.  What I mean by “read­able” is that the book does not sim­ply recite facts, fig­ures, laws, high level agenda etc.

Yes, it does that as well but by telling sto­ries of indi­vid­u­als on both sides of the debate, such as C.P. Werten­baker, a fed­eral sur­geon who worked tire­lessly to com­bat the deadly and pre­ventable dis­ease. On the other side there is Swedish Lutheran min­is­ter Hen­ning Jacob­son who took his bat­tle to the Supreme Court bat­tling against vac­ci­na­tion.
Those sto­ries, big and small, in con­text with the over­all pic­ture are what make the book a joy to read.

Mr. Will­rich goes beyond just recit­ing facts and fig­ures; he also frames the debate around vac­ci­na­tions. At a time when peo­ple believed that vac­ci­na­tions are some sort of a vast gov­ern­ment con­spir­acy (in a way it was), a cabal of the feds with the drug man­u­fac­tur­ers – sounds familiar?

The ques­tions which were debated and to some extent still are to this day.
What rights can or should the fed­eral gov­ern­ment ignore in order to pro­tect us?
What is the price we are will­ing to pay?
What hap­pens when the inter­ests of the pub­lic at large col­lide with religion/personal conscience?

The accounts detailed in the book are very inter­est­ing and I learned a lot from read­ing them. The research is metic­u­lous but the ele­gant writ­ing makes the book a joy to read, not only if you are inter­ested in med­i­cine, but also for those inter­ested in his­tory and espe­cially the social classes in the United States.

The book clearly sug­gests that an over­looked legacy of Amer­i­can dis­sent was the anti­vac­ci­na­tion­ists. An increas­ingly pow­er­ful gov­ern­ment took on the pro­gres­sive posi­tion that the ben­e­fit of all peo­ple out­weighs the prob­lems of the few and started manda­tory vac­ci­na­tion campaigns.

An inter­est­ing and infor­ma­tive part of Amer­i­can history.

Pur­chase “Pox: An Amer­i­can His­tory” through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on:
Ama­zon |Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK

TLC Book Tour for "Pox: An Amer­i­can His­tory":
Thurs­day, March 31st: Man of La Book
Mon­day, April 4th: Aeti­ol­ogy
Wednes­day, April 6th: Book Club Clas­sics!
Thurs­day, April 7th: Rag­ing Bib­lio­ma­nia
Tues­day, April 12th: Amy Reads
Wednes­day, April 13th: Super­bug
Thurs­day, April 14th: Sophis­ti­cated Dork­i­ness
Tues­day, April 19th: In the Next Room
Wednes­day, April 20th: Rhap­sody In Books
Thurs­day, April 21st: Take Me Away
Mon­day, April 25th: Mom­my­pota­mus
Tues­day, April 26th: Eclectic/Eccentric
Wednes­day, April 27th: Life Is A Patch­work Quilt
Thurs­day, April 28th: PhD in Parenting

Zohar — Man of la Book

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BOOK BLOGGERS — Have you read "Pox: An Amer­i­can His­tory"? If so link up your review below

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