read: 10 September 2010
This book has been on my “to read” shelf for the better part of the last five years. I finally got around to reading it. I liked it. Loved parts, hated others. This book is the story of how we finally figured out that giving people small amounts of smallpox will ensure they don’t get the terrible forms of smallpox. It traces the discovery of innoculation through Turkey, London and Boston and looks at the people who promoted it while smallpox raged through the land. The author has done a ton of research for this book. Possibly too much.
While the book has a lot of great information that comes from primary sources, the author lets us know in the beginning that she has invented conversations where they assist the story, and there’s an attention to details [especially royal lineage and the names of pubs and meeting places in Boston] that really don’t add to the main storyline at all. If you like this sort of thing, you will enjoy this book. I felt that it detracted from the general plotline and made the book a little overlong.
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