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The Life and Death of Smallpox

The Life and Death of Smallpox


  • Date Published: September 2004
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521845427

£ 37.00

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About the Authors
  • This is an engaging and fascinating story of a conditional human success story. Smallpox has been one of the most devastating scourges of humanity throughout recorded history, and it is the only human illness to have been eradicated, though polio may soon follow it to official extinction through human agency. However, while smallpox is officially extinct in nature, literally tons of the virus remain in guarded storage in Russia and at Fort Detrick in the US. Our fears that smallpox may return as a weapon of bioterrorists have led to the stockpiling of vaccine, and continuing vigilance, even though the official victory over smallpox is now 15 years old. The Life and Death of Smallpox presents the entire engaging history of our struggle and ultimate (?) victory over one of our oldest and worst enemies. The story of the campaign to track down and eradicate the virus throughout the world - the difficulties, setbacks, and the challenges successfully met - is a highlight of a fascinating book, but we can't be confident of the ending. The final chapter of the book clearly and authoritatively explains the current status of the threat, from the deliberate release of smallpox or other potential agents of biological terrorism.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2004
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521845427
    • length: 292 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. 'The most terrible of all the ministers of death'
    2. From myths to mummies
    3. Coming into focus:
    0 – 1500 AD
    4. Smallpox in the age of discoveries:
    1500 AD to 1700 AD
    5. News from the east
    6. Kicking against the pricks
    7. The heyday of inoculation
    8. From cuckoos to cowpox
    9. The world-wide spread
    10. Confusion and compulsion
    11. A hundred years on
    12. 'Bring hither the fatted calf'
    13. Sorting out the viruses
    14. Eradication: the beginning of the end
    15. 'Annihilation of the smallpox'
    16. 'And out of good still to find means of evil'.

  • Authors

    Ian Glynn, University of Cambridge

    Jenifer Glynn

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