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Publisher's Summary

In The Fever of 1721, Stephen Coss brings to life an amazing cast of characters in a year that changed the course of history, including Cotton Mather, the great Puritan preacher; Zabdiel Boylston, a doctor whose name is on one of Boston's grand avenues; James and his younger brother Benjamin Franklin; and Elisha Cooke and his protégé Samuel Adams.
During the worst smallpox epidemic in Boston history, Mather convinced Doctor Boylston to try a procedure that he believed would prevent death - by making an incision in the arm of a healthy person and implanting it with smallpox. "Inoculation" led to vaccination, one of the most profound medical discoveries in history.
A political fever also raged. Elisha Cooke was challenging the Crown for control of the colony and finally forced Royal Governor Samuel Shute to flee Massachusetts. Samuel Adams and the Patriots would build on this to resist the British in the run-up to the American Revolution. And bold young printer James Franklin launched America's first independent newspaper and landed in jail. His teenage brother, Benjamin Franklin, however, learned his trade in James's shop and became a father of the Independence movement.
©2016 Stephen Coss (P)2016 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Coss's focus on a specific location at a specific time fleshes out the complex and exciting scene in sharp detail, creating a historical account that is fascinating, informational, and pleasing to read." ( Library Journal)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Stefan on 04-09-16

not just about smallpox, more a picture of boston.

….60 years before the american revolution.

Most of the story centers around political and religious life in Boston, describing the rising tension between the emerging political parties and the British governors. A lot of the petty fighting sounded familiar to todays political fights.
The description of the smallpox epidemic and its treatment through inoculation was interesting, but its role in revolutionizing american publishing and politics was a bit of a stretch.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By della caspers on 05-09-16

Fever of 1721

Narrator was good I enjoyed the historical aspects of the book it was interesting to get insights to our country's original leadership & to hear about Benjamin Franklins beginnings and the struggles with disease and survival of said diseases through entry-level discovery of inoculation

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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