A witty, irreverent tour of history's worst plagues - from the Antonine Plague, to leprosy, to polio - and a celebration of the heroes who fought them.
In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn't stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon 34 more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-19th-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome - a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure. And in turn-of-the-century New York, an Irish cook caused two lethal outbreaks of typhoid fever, a case that transformed her into the notorious Typhoid Mary.
Throughout time, humans have been terrified and fascinated by the diseases history and circumstance have dropped on them. Some of their responses to those outbreaks are almost too strange to believe in hindsight. Get Well Soon delivers the gruesome, morbid details of some of the worst plagues we've suffered as a species, as well as stories of the heroic figures who selflessly fought to ease the suffering of their fellow man. With her signature mix of in-depth research and storytelling, and not a little dark humor, Jennifer Wright explores history's most gripping and deadly outbreaks, and ultimately looks at the surprising ways they've shaped history and humanity for almost as long as anyone can remember.
Editors Select, February 2017 - This book was a major unexpected delight for me. I've always been intrigued by plagues but usually just in the realm of sci-fi. I wasn't sure if a nonfiction book on the subject could really hook me. However, in Get Well Soon, author Jennifer Wright presents a whimsical, fascinating, and often hilarious exploration of an otherwise grim topic. Combining history, sociology, and science, she traces some of the most horrific plagues in human history from their origins to their eventual cures. Throughout each narrative, Wright peppers in fun facts - such as the belief that filling your house with onions could stave off the plague - while paying full respect to the victims of these illnesses. Gabra Zackman gives a downright masterful performance, perfectly delivering both the somber facts and wry humor. If you're a fan of Mary Roach or, like me, have even just a passing interest in the topic, don't hesitate to give this one a try. Sam, Audible Editor
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Didn't know syphilis could be so fascinating.
- Carrie Arnold
Fascinating read for anyone interested in the history of human behavior in response to fear
- Emily Cramer