Review of Pox Americana The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775 82 by Elizabeth A Fennby Stan Prager 7 9 20 Imagine there s a virus sweeping across the and claiming untold victims the agent of the disease poorly understood the population in terror of an unseen enemy that rages mercilessly through entire communities eaving in its wake an exponential toll of victims As this review goes to press amid an alarming spike in
New Coronavirus Cases Americans Coronavirus cases Americans t need to stretch their collective imagination very far to envisage that at all But now She Weeps Each Time You're Born look back nearly two and a half centuries and consider an even worse case scenario a war is on for the existential survival of our fledgling nation a struggle compromised by mass attrition in the Continental Army due to another kind of virus and the epidemic it spawns is characterized by symptoms and outcomes that are nothingess than nightmarish by any standard then or now For the culprit then was smallpox one of the most dread diseases in human history This nearly forgotten chapter in America s past eft a deep impact on the course of the Revolution that has been ong overshadowed by outsize events in the War of Independence and the birth of the Republic This neglect has been masterfully redressed by Pox Americana The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775 82 a brilliantly conceived and extremely well written account by Pulitzer Prize winning historian Elizabeth A Fenn One of the advantages of having a fine personal Seven Days, Seven Dinners library in your home is the delight of going to a random shelf and plucking off an edition that almost perfectly suits your current interests a volume that has been sitting there unread for years or even decades just waiting for your fingertips toocate it Such was the case with my signed first edition of Pox Americana a used bookstore find that turned out to be a serendipitous companion to my self uarantine for Coronavirus the great pandemic of our timesAs horrific as COVID 19 has been for us as of this morning we are up to one hundred thirty four thousand deaths and three million cases in the United States a significant portion of the than half million dead and nearly twelve million cases worldwide smallpox known as Variola was far far worse In fact almost unimaginably worse Not only was it than three times contagious than Coronavirus but rather than a mortality rate that ranges in the ow single digits with COVID the verdict s not yet in variola on average claimed an astonishing thirty percent of its victims who often suffered horribly in the course claimed an astonishing thirty percent of its victims who often suffered horribly in the course the illness and into their death throes while survivors were freuently eft disfigured by extensive scarring and many were If You're Missing Baby Jesus: A True Story that Embraces the Spirit of Christmas left blind Smallpox has aong history that dates back to at east the third century BCE as evidenced in Egyptian mummies There were reportedly still fifteen million cases a year as ate as 1967 In between it claimed untold hundreds of millions of Anne Perrys Christmas Crimes (Christmas Stories, lives over the years some three hundred million in the twentieth century alone until its ultimate eradication in 1980 There is perhaps some tragic irony that we are beset by Coronavirus on the fortieth anniversary of that milestone I typically eschewong excerpts for reviews but Variola was so horrifying and Fenn writes so well that I believe it would be a disservice to do other than et her describe it hereHeadache backache fever vomiting and general malaise all are among the initial signs of infection The headache can be splitting the backache excruciating The fever usually abates after the first day or two But relief is fleeting By the fourth day the fever creeps upward again and the first smallpox sores appear in the mouth throat and nasal passages The rash now moves uickly Over a twenty four hour period it extends itself from the mucous membranes to the surface of the skin On some it turns inward hemorrhaging subcutaneously These victims die early bleeding from the gums eyes nose and other orifices In most cases however the rash turns outward covering the victim in raised pustules that concentrate in precisely the places where they will cause the most physical pain and psychological anguish The soles of the feet the palms of the hands the face forearms neck and back are focal points of the eruption If the pustules. The astonishing hitherto unknown truths about a disease that transformed the United States at its birthA horrifying epidemic of smallpox was sweeping across the Americas when the American Revolution began and yet we know almost nothing about it Elizabeth A Fenn is the first historian to reveal how deeply variola affected the outcome of the war in every colony and the ives of everyone in North AmericaBy 1776 when military action and political ferment increased the move.
Elizabeth A. Fenn ´ 9 charactersHe pictures but while they are fine being included with the other photos I think it would have been better to place those maps with the corresponding chapters sections as it would make it easier to see the patterns It s a ittle hard to read as at times it seems that the author took her information and simply placed it on a time The Slave Dancer line There were a few parts where I needed to stop reading so that my brain wouldn t overload on pure facts On the other hand this is a nicely put together book and I think that she did a wonderful job researching the topic I would read any other books she has will publish During the years of the Revolutionary War while the American colonies attempted to wrest their independence from Britain and King George a shadow much smaller and terrifying than British soldiers was spreading across the continent Smallpox or Variola major as the virus itself is called uickly infected citizens in besieged Boston cut down the Continental Army in Canada swept it s way into the South to New Spain and up trading routes through the Great Plains into Canada and all the way to the Pacific coast In it s path it indiscriminately infe I am giving this 4 stars for breadth rather than readability Pox Americana is worth reading but be prepared for aot of statistical detail Thoughts on the book Colonial history often rests on the idea of the 13 colonies on the eastern seaboard this book explores a broad interwoven system of trade and conflict between native tribes that proved to be a powerful highway for the virus We so often think of globalization as being a modern concept the spread of small pox in only a few years across the continent belies that it is just a product of the 20th century We in the modern world rarely appreciate what it was Special Agent like toive with these devastating diseases It makes me appreciate so much why we need to contain modern contagions such as ebola Westward migration may not have been so easy if the native tribes had not ost so manyit reminds of the fundamental social changes you see recorded in Europe after the black death Pox American Follows The Smallpox Epidemic That Spread follows the smallpox epidemic that spread North America from 1775 1782 tracing its impact on the Revolutionary War and Native American and Colonial society Historian Elizabeth Fenn is meticulous in chronicling the devastation using firsthand accounts and surviving records to sketch out the death and fear that followed the diseaseThe impact of smallpox on the Revolutionary War occupies much of the book Epidemiologically the Americans were at a disadvantage Smallpox was endemic in Europe and British soldiers were much ikely to have been exposed to the disease gaining immunity This vulnerability The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started theLongest War in American History led to seriousosses during the revolutionary army s invasion of Canada as smallpox weakened and killed susceptible soldiersGeorge Washington struggled with the decision of whether to inoculate his soldiers Under the imperfect techniue of the time inoculation was a draining affair confining inoculees to sickbeds The process also potentially increased the risks of transmission as inoculees were contagious during the dormant period that followed inoculation Fenn skillfully uses this dilemma to build tension in a historic accountIn the post Revolutionary period Fenn focuses on the impact of smallpox on Native American populations throughout the continent offering repeated accounts of decimated villages and devastated cultures Native peoples were vulnerable to the Disease And The Successive and the successive of oss are heart rendingThe book is thorough and engaging but can be technical in its presentation of history The arger themes of the Revolutionary War aren t fleshed out The author it seems is confident that readers will remember battles and developments they may not have encountered since elementary school But the book is compelling in advancing its central theme the outsized impact of this continent wide epidemic Technically this is a good book Ms Fenn researched her topic thoroughly and offered up interesting observations of the Revolutionary period and how the spread of small pox influenced the course of American historyHowever it is an extraordinarily dry read and should probably be pursued only by those serious history buff. Cherokees were dying in Georgia smallpox broke out in Mexico City whence it followed travelers going north striking Santa Fe and outlying pueblos in January 1781 Simultaneously it moved up the Pacific coast and east across the plains as far as Hudson's BayThe destructive desolating power of smallpox made for a cascade of public health crises and heartbreaking human drama Fenn's innovative work shows how this mega tragedy was met and what its conseuences were for Ameri. ,
Remain discrete if they do not run together the prognosis is good But if they converge upon one another in a single oozing mass it is not This is called confluent smallpox upon one another in a single oozing mass it is not This is called confluent smallpox some as the rash progresses in the mouth and throat drinking becomes difficult and dehydration follows Often an odor peculiar to smallpox develops Patients at this stage of the disease can be hard to recognize If damage to the eyes occurs it begins now Scabs start to form after two weeks of suffering In confluent or semiconfluent cases of the disease scabbing can encrust most of the body making any movement excruciating One observation of such afflicted Native Americans noted that They ye on their hard matts the poxe breaking and mattering and runing one into another their skin cleaving to the matts they ye on when they turne them a whole side will flea off at once Death when it occurs usually comes after ten to sixteen days of suffering Thereafter the risk drops significantly and u This originated as an opinion essay for class and I have adapted it for a review but because of this it is a ittle different in tone than my regular reviewsThe experience of reading Pox Americana was a very different one for me as I was not all that sure how this epidemic would relate to American history during the Revolution I soon found myself thoroughly engrossed in the material and actually interested in earning Disease is always a common factor in war but for me the association of smallpox with history had always been regarding the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the effect of its arrival on their way of ife I had not previously considered how it might have affected the colonists and almost changed the outcome of history as we know itI have never read a microhistory on disease or for that matter any type of book on disease That has always been my husband The first part of the book which describes the impact smallpox had on the American Revolution was extremely interesting and added another dimension to my understanding of the war Unfortunately the story went downhill from there and seemed to merely relate one outbreak after another without making a 100 ways to Fight the Flab - and still have wine and chocolate larger point The smallpox epidemic that covered the continent from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and from Canada to Mexico in theate 1700s is something that very few people have covered and this book could have been very very interesting As it was I The Oxford New Greek Dictionary learned aot about not have been very very interesting As it was I The Cello Suites : J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the search for a Baroque masterpiece learned aot about not the smallpox epidemic but also about what was going on elsewhere on the North American continent at the time of the American Revolution It was very interesting to The New Job Security learn how the smallpox epidemic affected the Revolution as well as the fur trade in Canada and Spanish expansion in the West This book was well researched and included aot of primary source material I had several problems with the book First of all though this is a very interesting topic it really was not enough to fill a whole book with It would have been better if it was part of a The Day Fidel Died: Cuba in the Age of Raúl, Obama, and the Rolling Stones (A Vintage Short) larger work on the American Revolution or North American colonies Being in a 300 page book meant that it got very repetitive The author kept reiterating the same points over and over again She also would say somethingike there s no way to tell where the Pacific Northwest Native Americans acuired smallpox from and then spend 30 pages trying to tell just that The book got very annoying after the first few chapters and I really just skimmed the The New Odyssey: The Story of Europe's Refugee Crisis last 100 pages I would recommend this book for someone who is very interested in smallpox but not for the casual reader Reading Scavenger Hunt North Carolina Subject matter fascinating Writing awful Pages upon pages of speculation about how the smallpox didn t get to native Americans in Washington State Lots of similar details that make it honestly readike a thesis than a book Enjoyed The Jumbee learning about the smallpox epidemic of the 1700s andiked how the author divided the book into three sections through the chapters the Colonies then Mexico and finally the Indian natives on the Pacific coast Alaska Sprinkled through out the book are some individual stories and in my copy at east there are a few photographs of paintings pictures and other smallpox plague items She has added some maps along with Ment of people and microbes the epidemic worsened Fenn's remarkable research shows us how smallpox devastated the American troops at uébec and kept them at bay during the British occupation of Boston Soon the disease affected the war in Virginia where it ravaged slaves who had escaped to join the British forces During the terrible winter at Valley Forge General Washington had to decide if and when to attempt the risky inoculation of his troops In 1779 while Creeks and. ,