Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary

Gail Jarrow. Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek, $16.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-62091-597-4
Jarrow follows Red Madness with a second captivating book in her planned trilogy on deadly diseases. This time the culprit is typhoid fever with the focus on Mary Mallon (aka Typhoid Mary), the infamous Irish immigrant cook who helped spread it in the early 20th century. The author’s extensive research results in a compelling narrative about the feared infection and the stubborn Mallon, who twice ran from officials and was twice banished from New York City. It also weaves her story into that of sanitation engineer George Soper, Dr. S. Josephine Baker, and other public health officials who worked to track her down and improve the conditions under which typhoid thrives: “Scores of outhouses sat on the creek banks. Their contents oozed into the running water and turned the streams into sewers.” Replete with archival photos, this thorough account brings readers to the present day and modern medicine’s fight against what is still a scourge in many countries. The book wraps up with a list of famous typhoid victims (including Orville and Wilbur Wright), glossary, extensive bibliography, and source notes. Ages 10–up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/19/2015
Release date: 03/01/2015
Genre: Children's
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