Book Summary:

An American Plague, by Jim Murphy, is about the yellow fever epidimic of 1793. This book details the incident rather thouroughly and is well researched. It not only covers the epidimic from start to finish, but also goes on to the discovery of a cure for the yellow fever. It however does not go into detail about the other yellow fever epidimics that occured for nearly 10 years after the epidimic in 1793 and only mentions that there were other epidimics of this disease every few years after. The full title of the work is An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidimic of 1793.

APA Reference: 

Murphy, Jim (2003). “An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow                                       Fever Epidimic of 1793.” Boston, MA.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt                                                 Publishing.


I found this to be an interesting read all in all. It was very detailed and I liked that it went up to the point where the cure for yellow fever was discovered and how it was discovered. I would have liked to have seen more information about the other epidimics of yellow fever that occured after the one in 1793 instead of them being given only a passing acknologment that they occured though. What really sold it for me though was the way it was written and the details that were provided from the reliable sources which showed that the author did his research on the topic very thouroughly.

Professional Review:

“In marked contrast to the clipped, suspenseful pace of his Inside the Alamo…Murphy here adopts a leisurely, lyrical tone to chronicle the invisible spread of the deadly disease that not only crippled Philadelphia (then the temporary capital of the U.S.) but also set off a constitutional crisis.” – Publishers Weekly

Library Uses:

As this is a historical novel it could easily be used to promote history lessons about the USA and be used by students as research material for history projects and even science projects (to a point).


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