Saturday, March 10, 2018

Get Well Soon

Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them / Jennifer Wright, 320 p.

This title was on the nightstand, next to Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine and Pale Rider: the Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World.  My husband glanced at this trio and said, "Honey, what is wrong with you?"

I can't answer that question, but I can say that Get Well Soon is great nonfiction, combining extensive research with humor and attitude.  The focus is on human behavior in the face of epidemics, and how rational, calm, humane responses ameliorate conditions, regardless of the level of scientific knowledge.  If the book were lousy I would still like it for the terrific sketch of Father (now saint) Damien of Molokai, who ministered to the lepers on Hawaii's remote colony and who is one of humanity's greats.  But it's not a lousy book!  The thesis is well-supported, the information is fascinating, and the writing is zingy.  Highly recommended.

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