School Library Journal
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Gr 5-9-Starting with the dramatic cover photo of a row of girls lying in their hospital beds, Murphy and Blank unwind the tangled history of tuberculosis, a disease that continues to kill millions every year. The writing is crisp and clinical. Readers will be surprised to learn that kings believed that a single touch of their hand would cure the peasants and that one of the more radical treatments for TB included removing multiple ribs from a patient's chest. At times gruesome and somewhat somnolent when describing the peaceful sanatoriums, the book clearly details all the many unsuccessful attempts to cure this infectious disease. The authors also describe how close modern medicine has come to eradicating it. Students researching diseases or medical breakthroughs will find this book both informative and interesting. Helpful, too, are the pronunciation tips that are included when the authors discuss the complicated names of the bacteria and illnesses. The book is liberally illustrated with photos, drawings, and prints that vividly complement the text. The selected bibliography and source notes serve also as excellent examples of useful citations.-Denise Schmidt, San Francisco Public Library (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Beginning with evidence of tuberculosis in a 500,000-year-old fossilized Homo erectus skull, this well-researched volume describes ineffective treatments for the illness in ancient Egypt and Greece before tracing the disease's course throughout European and American history. Although antibiotics once offered the hope of eradicating the disease, the emergence of drug-resistant TB has been a serious modern setback. In their broad discussion of tuberculosis, its effects, and the search for a cure, Murphy and Blank clearly present a broad range of historical periods and social issues. One interesting section tells how the romanticized, nineteenth-century view of consumption contrasted with the actual lives and deaths of those who suffered from the disease. Another describes the development of sanatoriums and the experiences of patients, including writer Betty MacDonald. With particular focus on the early twentieth century, the chapter The Outsiders discusses the difficulties encountered by African Americans and immigrants seeking care and treatment for TB. Illustrations, mainly archival photos, appear on nearly every double-page spread. The back matter is unusually full and informative, with annotations in the source notes and bibliography. Wide ranging in breadth, yet always well focused on the topic at hand, this fascinating book offers a sharply detailed picture of tuberculosis throughout history.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist