When Plague Strikes: The Black Death, Smallpox, AIDS
When Plague Strikes: The Black Death, Smallpox, AIDS
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Annotation: Accounts of three major diseases that have ravaged humanity throughout history.
Genre: Health
Catalog Number: #325662
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 1995
Edition Date: 1997
Illustrator: Frampton, David,
Pages: xii, 212 p.
Availability: Available (Limited Quantities Available / While Supplies Last)
ISBN: Publisher: 0-06-446195-5 Perma-Bound: 0-605-04578-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-06-446195-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-04578-1
Dewey: 614.4
LCCN: 94039881
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
In all his fine nonfiction, from Walls (1984) to Milk (1986), Giblin discusses his subject across time and cultures, combining social history with technology and science. Here he looks in turn at the three great plagues--the Black Death, smallpox, and AIDS--and discusses in some detail their origins, causes, epidemiology, symptoms, and devastating effects. The section on smallpox is filled with horror, but there's a triumphant climax in the development of a vaccine and the eradication of the disease. In contrast, the medical news about AIDS is grim, with no cure in sight. Just as disturbing is the scapegoating that is as cruel today as when the Jews were blamed for the Black Death. Giblin emphasizes that there have always been doctors, clergy, friends, and family, then and now, who have cared for the victims, but prejudice remains a raging virus among us. A personal bibliographic essay discusses how Giblin used each resource. David Frampton's woodcuts--one double-page spread for each of the three diseases--are powerful narratives that dramatize the suffering, the bigotry, and the caring. The social history of disease is compelling in its own right; it also provides a context for the current public health debate about AIDS. (Reviewed Oct. 15. 1995)
Horn Book
In a discussion that is scholarly but not overly pedantic, Giblin examines the causes and consequences of--as well as social attitudes toward and medical responses to--plagues that have threatened to overwhelm large segments of the population. Despite the grim subject matter, Giblin reaffirms our common humanity and interdependence, for 'no new disease can remain a problem for only one group, nation, or even continent.' Bib., ind.
Kirkus Reviews
Three profiles of epidemics—the bubonic plague, smallpox, and AIDS—each one a cohesive cross section of history, medicine, and biology. In the first part, Giblin (Be Seated, 1993, etc.) describes the origins and history of the plague, contemporary ideas about medicine, attempted cures, society's responses to the epidemic, and its long-term effects on European history. In the second section, he first focuses on the spread of smallpox in the Americas and then gives a blow-by-blow account of the discovery of vaccination. In comparison with the first part of the book, covering centuries, the section on AIDS is—inevitably—empty; history on this level is the stuff of newspapers. But Giblin's prose remains easy and engaging throughout the book; he proves himself a seasoned narrator with an eye for fascinating details. Frampton's graceful black-and-white woodcuts resemble something out of a 16th-century chapbook. A highly informative, engrossing work. (notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10+)"
Publishers Weekly
The devastating spread of three epidemic diseases, and the many responses they have evoked, are insightfully covered in this illuminating book,"""" said PW in a starred review. Ages 10-up. (May) o
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up--While the Black Death, smallpox, and AIDS may seem to have little in common, Giblin draws parallels between them that are both striking and fascinating. The Black Death was often blamed on Jews, leading to hatred, mistrust, and violence against them. In much the same way, many people have blamed AIDS on homosexuals. The author's tracing of the medical community's fearful and confused reactions to these diseases and his portrayal of the infighting among AIDS researchers are certainly eye-opening. Overall, the text is brutally matter-of-fact. The medical terms are clearly explained and Giblin moves deftly from one historical highlight to another, touching briefly, yet thoroughly, on the major events that make up the history of each disease. This is a book that would serve YAs well for reports, but it is also a fascinating read.--Melissa Hudak, North Suburban District Library, Roscoe, IL
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 197-204) and index.
Word Count: 36,874
Reading Level: 9.8
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 9.8 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 11849 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:6.4 / points:11.0 / quiz:Q12465
Lexile: 1190L
Guided Reading Level: Z
Fountas & Pinnell: Z

Compassionate and arresting, this exploration of three major diseases that have changed the course of history—the bubonic plague, smallpox, and AIDS—chronicles their fearsome death toll, their lasting social, economic, and political implications, and how medical knowledge and treatments have advanced as a result of the crises they have occasioned. "A book that would serve well for reports, but it is also a fascinating read."—SLJ.

Best Books of 1995 (SLJ)
Notable Children's Trade Books in Social Studies 1996 (NCSS/CBC)
1995 Young Adult Editors’ Choices (BL)
1995 Top of the List Non Fiction (BL)
1996 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA)
Notable Children’s Books of 1996 (ALA)

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