Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure by Jim Murphy and Alison Blank.
I'm back taking a closer look at the long list of this year's YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults.
Murphy and Blank do a wonderful job of weaving in multiple strands of the TB story. There's the story of the disease itself, starting in prehistory and going until today, how it affects the body, how it kills, and how we've come to the drug-resistant types we have today. There's the story of those searching for a cure, the doctors with medicine, the quacks with schemes, what has worked, what hasn't, and where we are today. Then there's the story of TB's role in pop culture and policy-- the romantic idea of the consumptive waif, border closings to quarantine areas, the way it spread through centers of urban poor. Lastly, but most importantly, it's the story of those who have suffered from this disease, from prehistoric times until today.
They dip in and out of these stories seamlessly and tying it all together as they follow TB across time and space. It gets scary at the end, when they talk about TB's comback and how what little we had to combat it is no longer working.
It's fascinating and medical and social history at its best.
Amazingly, after I read this, I discovered that I actually know several people with TB. I was even able to explain the reasons behind some of the more annoying parts of their treatment!
Today's Nonfiction Monday is over at Supratentorial. Check it out!
Book Provided by... the publisher, for award consideration
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