Recommended Books

The following is a list of books related to plagues, epidemiology,

medicine and public health that I have read and liked, in two

categories. History and Politics of Epidemics and Fiction about Plagues. To discuss relevant books you have read, or to suggest your own favorites, go the Books Forum on the SARS Watch Bulletin Boards.

The History and Politics of Epidemics The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance

by Laurie Garrett The best single book on emerging diseases.

Captivating stories, the history and science of epidemiology, this

Pulitzer Prize winning book has it all. If you buy one book because of

SARS, this should be the one. Very highly recommended Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health

by Laurie Garrett The follow up to The Coming Plague. Garrett

explores the many ways in which the public health system has broken down

since World War II, and demonstrates the costs that the breakdown is

imposing on us. Recommended. Social Transformation of American Medicine

by Paul Starr

This Pulitzer Prize winning history of

American Medicine does a lot to explain why the domain of public health

is so small in the U.S., and why health in the U.S. is mostly a private,

as opposed to public, matter. It takes some fortitude to get through,

but it should be required reading for anyone who has ever wondered why,

for better and for worse, the US is the only developed country that does

not have social provision of medical care. Hint: It’s not an accident. Recommended. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

by Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell uses a lot of insights from epidemiology to talk about social

phenomena, but the book is also useful for explaining some of the basic

premises of epidemiology to non-epidemiologists like myself. An easy and

fun read, but I also learned a lot. Highly Recommended. Plagues and Peoples

by William H. McNeill I first read this classic in college 20 years

ago, and I’ve never forgotten its account of how the European conquest

of America was aided by the little remarked upon fact that the

population of the Americas was reduced by 90% in the first

century after 1492, primarily by infectious diseases. A pioneering look

at the role of infectious diseases in human history, and a good and

quick read. Highly recommended. Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues

by Paul Farmer This book is not an easy read. But once you

read it, you will never forget the account of one patient for whom AIDS

was just one more problem. Farmer spends half each year running at TB

clinic in Haiti, and the other half teaching at Harvard and working in a

clinic in Boston. He very convincingly documents the connection between

disease and inequality, and demonstrates the connection with vivid

stories from his own practice. Highly recommended. And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic

by Randy Shilts

This long and well written account of the

beginning of the AIDS epidemic shows how politics and public health are

always intertwined. Shilts shows how the characteristics of the first

victims of AIDS delayed the medical and public health response to the

disease, and how medicine went down several blind alleys before

identifying the virus that causes AIDS. Recommended.

Flu : The Story Of The Great Influenza Pandemic

by Gina Kolata The story of the Spanish Flu epidemic, and

how we have almost wiped out of our collective memory a disease that

killed over 40 million people in a year is fascinating, but this book

only does a so-so job of recounting that history. There are probably

better histories of the great flu epidemic of 1918, but this is the one

that I have read. The Medical Detectives

by Berton Roueche

Wonderful, quirky and classic tales of daily epidemiology from the

1940’s to the 1980’s, the stories in ttis book originally appeared in

the Annals of Medicine series in the New Yorker. I would love to have Roueche’s job, and be a paid journalist explaining medicine and public health to a lay audience. Recommended.

Fiction about Plagues Executive Orders

by Tom Clancy Has anybody else noticed how much recent

events, (i.e. suicide crash of jetliner by terrorists, new infectious

disease, and war in the Middle East) are following the plot of this

novel published 5 years ago? Too bad George W. Bush is no Jack Ryan. Recommended. The Andromeda Strain

by Michael Crichton

The original “virus from outer space starts killing everybody on earth novel”. Let’s just hope that SARS mutates as favorably. Recommended. The First Horseman

by John Case

This terrifying thriller teaches a lot about the Spanish Flu. Case has

done his research, and also knows how to write a page turner. Recommended.

The Cobra Event

by Richard Preston

The apocalyptic view of a horrific man-made designer plague means this pot boiler is guaranteed to keep you up all night. Recommended, if you like thrillers.

Doomsday Book

by Connie Willis

A really interesting view of how 14th century

England coped with The Black Death, as the bubonic plague was then

known. Also very good fiction (Won the Hugo and Nebula awards). Highly recommended.

To discuss relevant books you have read, or to suggest your own favorites, go the Books Forum on the SARS Watch Bulletin Boards. Full disclosure: If you use this page to buy a book from

Amazon, I will earn a 5-15% commission fee. I’ve put up this page mostly

to share what I have found worth reading, but I am also attempting to

recoup some of my costs with the Amazon associate fees.

CONTACT & DISCUSS

Click to send email about SARS to me

Share news and discuss the SARS epidemic at the

SARS Watch Org Bulletin boards

Read SARS Watch Org using a news reader: XML news feed Find out about the goals of the site, read: Who Am I and Why SARS Watch Org?

Graphs

This graph is updated daily except Sunday, courtesy of Dave O’Brien. For more graphs, see Dave O’Brien’s amazing SARS graph gallery,

which updates daily except Sunday with graphs of the SARS epidemic for

each country that has reported at least one case of SARS.

RECENT ARTICLES

New email address Dr. Jiang Yanyong released from custody, then given the 2004 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service Dr. Jiang Yanyong, hero of the SARS epidemic, imprisoned in China It’s official: SARS is back Has SARS reappeared in mainland China? Possible, but not likely. Wall Street Journal: Megadoses of Steroids Devastated Many Chinese SARS Patients Singapore takes no chances with SARS, quarantines 70, Taiwanese researcher criticized Taiwan confirms new SARS case SARS virus origin part bird, part mammal? Mothballing SARS Watch Org Good reading: Microbial Threats to Health: Emergence, Detection, and Response” (2003) SARS Virus Dies Earlier When Heat’s On Good to the Last Dropping Behind the Six Degrees of SARS WHO: Why SARS is a serious threat Spitting in the news Dr. Donald Low: Canada playing numbers game with SARS epidemic Anthony Saich on China and SARS in the Financial Times Site news: Going out of town for 1 week, fund raising update SARS News tidbits

NET RESOURCES

OFFICIAL CDC’s SARS page Best single source of information on SARS, the disease. WHO’s SARS page. The official world source of SARS information. Health Canada’s SARS page From a country with an active outbreak

Hong Kong Health Department Issues daily situation reports on the SARS outbreak. Singapore Ministry of Health Issues very detailed daily situation reports on the SARS outbreak. Taiwanese CDC’s SARS web page in English, and Taiwanese Ministry of Health SARS web page.

Moderately useful. Hopefully, the chinese language site is better.

Microbial Threats to Health A good introduction to Emerging Diseases (PDF) from US Institute of Medicine

SARS Reference A free 62 page medical reference book with chapters

on the history, virology, transmission, epidemiology, diagnosis and

treatment of SARS.

NEWS ProMed Daily updates on emerging infectious diseases – great summaries. News Stories by Laurie Garrett Probably the best journalist on the “epidemic beat”.

The Atlanta JC’s SARS stories The hometown paper of the CDC – has the inside scoop.

World Cumulative SARS Cases The international case count. SARS US Cases The US case count.

Google News Search: SARS

The best place to find SARS stories in English from around the world

Yahoo SARS Portal Good place to find breaking news from the wire services

WEBLOGS Personal accounts from people living in areas heavily impacted by SARS A Zoo Out There Dr. Jen Jen in Singapore Great writing from someone on the frontlines of the battle against SARS Big White Guy in Hong Kong Would be worth reading even if it wasn’t for SARS Great reporting on SARS in Hong Kong, almost 24×7 Brainysmurf in Tianjin, China A good weblog with lots of SARS coverage by a young American, Adam Morris.

Jian Shuo Wang in Shanghai. Great weblog by a Chinese national, currently focused on SARS Bokane.org in Harbin, China. Brendan O’Kane’s infrequent but interesting reports on life in Harbin, near the border with Russia. Jeff Hoi in Malaysia Focused more on business, but SARS is affecting business

UNOFFICIAL SARS INFORMATION SITES Like this one, aggregating information and providing links.

Docbear’s daily SARS updates Docbear

appears to be my good twin. He gets up early every morning and writes a

summary of SARS news for the Agonist’s bulletin boards. He does very

good work. Vernon Lee’s SARS site in Singapore has lots of good links.

For links to more resources, see the Additional SARS Resources On The Internet page.

Know a good source of information? Email me a URL.

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

Non Fiction

Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues

by Paul Farmer

This book is not an easy read. But once you

read it, you will never forget the account of one patient for whom AIDS

was just one more problem. Farmer spends half each year running at TB

clinic in Haiti, and the other half teaching at Harvard and working in a

clinic in Boston. He very convincingly documents the connection between

disease and inequality, and demonstrates the connection with vivid

stories from his own practice. Highly recommended.

Fiction

The Cobra Event by Richard Preston

The apocalyptic view of a horrific man-made designer plague means this pot boiler is guaranteed to keep you up all night. Recommended, if you like thrillers.

For more book recommendations, see the SARS Watch Org Books page.

To discuss relevant books you have read, or to suggest your own favorites, go the Books Forum on the SARS Watch Bulletin Boards.

SARS NEWS HEADLINES

China expands free trade pact with Hong KongJun 30 2006 2:01AM GMT HK gets wider access to mainland marketPeoples Daily Online Jun 30 2006 1:45AM GMTImmuneRegen product to undergo anti-microbial evaluationPharmaceutical Business Review Jun 30 2006 1:31AM GMTBe proactive when dealing with H5N1Barbados Advocate Jun 30 2006 12:27AM GMTBid flu bogeyman for air transportTownsville Bulletin Jun 30 2006 12:18AM GMTBid flu bogeyman for air transportThe Mercury Jun 30 2006 12:17AM GMTAviation: Bid flu bogeyman for air transport Jun 30 2006 12:08AM GMTHow to stop SARS viruses from reproducingInnovations Report Jun 30 2006 12:03AM GMTStopping SARS viruses from reproducing Aviation: Bid flu bogyman for air transport Jun 29 2006 11:27PM GMTWITNESS – Treading warily on the bird flu beatReuters India Jun 29 2006 11:20PM GMTWarning: Tax return deadline loomsIOL Jun 29 2006 10:31PM GMTTax returns can be fun, apparently…IOL Jun 29 2006 10:31PM GMTChina’s Wealth Fuels Appetite for Exotic Animal ProductsVOA News Jun 29 2006 9:01PM GMTExperts sound off on pandemics and the mediaUniversity of Toronto Jun 29 2006 8:56PM GMTHousing Dept to Submit Report to SCOPAJun 29 2006 6:30PM GMTEffects Of Avian Flu Pandemic DisasterousPost Chronicle Jun 29 2006 6:14PM GMTMedia voices cautious opposition to draft law tightening censorshipReporters Sans Frontires Jun 29 2006 5:29PM GMTGroup Claims Man Died from Bird Flu, Not SARSEin News Jun 29 2006 5:07PM GMTNews powered by Moreover Technologies

CONTRIBUTORS

Tim, of:

Geodog’s MT Weblog The Midnight Blog The Berkeley Blog

Crawford, of: crofpers

Phil of: Flying Chair

Randall, of Big White Guy Soul of the Web Magazine

SITE STATISTICS

TOP 10 MOST READ Good to the Last Dropping (6650) Chinese Economist: Little SARS Effect Overall on China’s Economy (6485) New email address (6212) Graphs and Models of SARS epidemic (5517) MAP of China’s SARS Cases (5351) New models of the SARS epidemic (5255) SARS Virus Dies Earlier When Heat’s On (5084) Behind the Six Degrees of SARS (4924) WHO: Why SARS is a serious threat (4828) Wall Street Journal: Megadoses of Steroids Devastated Many Chinese SARS Patients (4692)

TOP 10 MOST COMMENTED

Who Am I and Why SARS Watch Org? (25) The SARS epidemic hits the big time (13) Guest author says the SARS Countdown in China is on (12) UC Berkeley bans students from SARS affected areas (11) The Chinese Connection (10) WHO: Why SARS is a serious threat (10) A SARS Watch Org Editorial: Somebody please put Tommy Thompson back in his cage (9) SARS: On the Decline in Hong Kong (8) An American goes to the hospital in China (7) SARS patent battle opens (7)