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tannat

Tannat

Not so much a blog; just lots of books

Currently reading

Penric's Demon
Lois McMaster Bujold, Grover Gardner
Behold, Here's Poison
Georgette Heyer
Engineering Animals: How Life Works
Alan Mcfadzean, Mark Denny
Progress: 125/314pages
Debt Collector Season One
Susan Kaye Quinn
The Rise of Yeast: How the Sugar Fungus Shaped Civilization
Nicholas P. Money
Conservation of Shadows
Yoon Ha Lee
Progress: 22%
Le premier jour
Marc Levy
Progress: 180/496pages
Moby-Dick: or, The Whale (Penguin Classics)
Herman Melville
Manifold: Time
Stephen Baxter, Chris Schluep
Progress: 99/480pages
The Long War
Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett
Progress: 68/501pages

Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright

Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer   Wright

Since I came so late to the party with this one, I knew enough from other people's updates that I needed to adjust my expectations somewhat. This wasn't a survey of plagues over the centuries with discussions of symptoms, causes, and societal effects of various contagious diseases. It was a chattier discussion that liked to use a lot of exclamation marks and throw in cultural references and attempts at humour.

 

Some of the chapters were more interesting than others, but I slowly became more and more appalled by the blithely American-centric attitude that went so far as to refer to some countries as "core" countries and some as "periphery". Now, she never actually defines what constitutes a "core" country versus a peripheral one, so I'm not exactly sure what she means here (it's not like she's even talking about a particular industry where core might mean countries strongly involved in that industry)...it's really just not a term I've ever encountered before and it makes me wonder what kind of circles the author moves in where she wouldn't think that she needed to define it because it was so commonly used.

 

It also makes me wonder whether part of the reason she disliked John Snow so much wasn't because he was a tee-totalling vegetarian but because he was British? I realize she was probably aiming for a humorous angle when commenting on the various people involved in her plagues but a lot of her comments just came off as silly. As she approached the modern day "plagues", the book became more and more American, too.

 

I will say that Wright at least comes down against the anti-vaxxers, but viewed against the rest of the book, I just don't feel that that merits raising my rating even by half a star. I didn't mention it in an update, but I'm also skeptical of her coverage of the Antonine plague because she runs two plagues together and then claims that they continue to deplete the Roman empire to the point of failure over another hundred years.

 

I recommend Medical Detective aka The Strange Case of the Broad Street Pump by Sarah Hempel if you want to read a slightly less hostile account of John Snow's detective work. Elentarri's review has a more extensive list of alternate books to read.

 

To end on a more cheery note, here's a doctored up Huggins (I hope Broken Tune doesn't mind the appropriation):

 

 

 

Previous updates (with [hopefully] helpful summaries:

Page 2 (first core country rant, longevity rant, and modern viewpoint rant aka the introduction)

Page 11 (cholera in Roman times rant and other Roman stuff)

Page 25 (picturing ostriches as really big geese)

Page 44 (the dangers of bathing in the middle ages)

Page 113 (the dangers of drinking raw milk, or, the problem with viewing the past through a modern lens)

Page 123 (reference to Jenny Lawson)

Page 125 (more on "periphery" countries)

Page 206 (judgement against those who do not race balloons)

 

Oh, and I'll be counting this towards the Doomsday square in Halloween Bingo.