[PDF] Pox Americana The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775 82 Author Elizabeth A. Fenn
The first Your Life Still Counts: How God Uses Your Past to Create a Beautiful Future part of the book which describes the impact smallpox had on the American Revolution was extremely interesting and added another dimension to my understanding of the war Unfortunately the story went downhill from there and seemed to merely relate one outbreak after another without making a largeroint This originated as an opinion essay for class and I have adapted it for a review but because of this it is a little different in tone than my regular reviewsThe experience of reading Pox Americana was a very different one for me as I was not all that sure how this epidemic would relate to American history during the Revolution I soon found myself thoroughly engrossed in the material and actually interested in learning Disease is always a common factor in war but for me the association of smallpox with history had always been regarding the indigenous Piers Plowman: A New Translation of the B-Text peoples of the Americas and the effect of its arrival on their way of life I had notreviously considered how it might have affected the colonists and almost changed the outcome of history as we know itI have never read a microhistory on disease or for that matter any type of book on disease That has always been my husband s area of interest and I was happy to leave that study to him so I was than a little hesitant about approaching a history on smallpox remember that this wasn t originally by choice One thing that I appreciated early on rather surprisingly was the author s fairly detailed discussion of the effects of smallpox While disturbing especially when reading these The War against Animals passages while eating lunch it gave me a much deeper understanding of just how devastating the disease would have been to those suffering from its effects during any timeeriod I have never even had the chicken Fantasy Noir. Übernatürliche Mordfälle pox and therefore did not even have that terrible comparison to draw upon when considering smallpoxreviously in the limited experience I have had with the subject It also is not a disease that exists in nature today only in a secured laboratory which means that I have not heard anything about the disease even in assing While that ortion of the book might have been a little bit gruesome I found it necessary to my understanding of how devastating the disease would have been to an already hard ressed armyI can understand why a subject like the smallpox epidemic might not be covered in American history survey classes in high school or college In their grand scheme of imparting the most important information on the American Revolution it is not absolutely necessary to understand the effects of this disease on the troops At that stage the big names and events will serve their urpose and there is usually some general discussion of camp diseases that will vaguely touch on the effects of health on army readiness However for a Masters level class or for those who are deeply interested in American history where we should already have a solid understanding of the basic oints of the history I think that Pox Americana rovided another level of valuable analysis to dig deeper into why events transpired how they did and allow us to consider even tangentially how history might have been different if not for General Washington s decision to inoculate the troops at Valley Forge That decision is just as significant a turning A Long the Krommerun: Selected Papers from the Utrecht James Joyce Symposium point in the American Revolution as the outcome of the Battle of Saratoga The rate at which smallpox was devastating the American army waslacing it in a dire situation especially when compared to the relative health of the British regulars you could almost see the crush of the American troops coming Knowing this my opinion of General Washington has thus improved after having considered just how difficult of a decision it was to decide to take the chance with inoculation when so many at the time were against it and his troops so badly needed it It is a great leader who can justify taking an immense risk as that given all the marks against it If his great leap of faith had gone wrong the Americans might have lost the war but they might have lost even if he did notWe were only reuired to read a couple of chapters of this book for class but I was interested enough to ick it back up and finish the book It explored all areas of the North American
and it interesting to see how the disease effected the regions differently although I will admit that the chapters assigned were the most interesting Some of the later chapters became much dry resulting in the lower rating While this book was a history of a devastating disease in a localized area it served an even greater urpose to bring to light a chronically overlooked but critical element in the history of the Revolutionary War The author tells us in her introduction to the book that the outbreak of smallpox killed Scorch people during the war years than resulted from combat with the enemy and that just as much as the war this epidemic was a defining characteristic for many who lived through that time Phrases like this do not suggest that the effect of smallpox on the history of the United States should be taken lightly Disease often killseople during wartime than the battles do but it is often the result of many different camp diseases not just one disease showing just how owerful smallpox was Additionally for something to be a defining characteristic in someone s life especially duringcontinent and it
A Time When Theretime when there so much change happening in the country to begin with that means it was erceived to be of vital importance For these reasons I am grateful to have had the opportunity to explore the topic and further my understanding of the myriad of elements that comprised the American Revolution years For me the most eye opening aspect was the discussion on the differences between how smallpox effected the British troops versus the American troops Not only did it help me to understand to a greater extent the uphill battle that Washington and his men were facing but it also helped draw another distinction showing how far the Americans had come from the way of life of the Old World Other texts have illustrated how their manner of speech had changed and customs began to differ but nothing is as striking as their susceptibility to a common disease in their former motherland It is even interesting when you consider that so many of the indigenous Marrane Et Marronne: La Co-Ecriture Reversible D Andre Et de Simone Schwarz-Bart peoples of the Americas died after first contact because of the introduction of this disease by explorers who were not affected by it and that not so many years later the descendants of these settlers were now being attacked by that very same disease while again the invaders were immune It makes a very interestingoint for further considerationThis review was This Deleuzian Century previouslyosted at my blog The Maiden s Court Review of Pox Americana The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775 82 by Elizabeth A Fennby Stan Prager 7 9 20 Imagine there s a virus sweeping across the land claiming untold victims the agent of the disease Women's Romantic Theatre and Drama: History, Agency, and Performativity poorly understood theopulation in terror of an unseen enemy that rages mercilessly through entire communities leaving in its wake an exponential toll of victims As this review goes to Tell Me What You Want press amid an alarming spike in new Coronavirus cases Americans don t need to stretch their collective imagination very far to envisage that at all But now look back nearly two and a half centuries and consider an even worse case scenario a war is on for the existential survival of our fledgling nation a struggle compromised by mass attrition in the Continental Army due to another kind of virus and the epidemic it spawns is characterized by symptoms and outcomes that are nothing less than nightmarish by any standard then or now For the culprit then was smallpox one of the most dread diseases in human history This nearly forgotten chapter in America sast left a deep impact on the course of the Revolution that has been long overshadowed by outsize events in the War of Independence and the birth of the Republic This neglect has been masterfully redressed by Pox Americana The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775 82 a brilliantly conceived and extremel. The astonishing hitherto unknown truths about a disease that transformed the United States at its birthA horrifying epidemic of smallpox was sweeping across the Americas when the American Revolution began and yet we know almost nothing about it Elizabeth A Fenn is the first historian to reveal how deeply variola affected the outcome of the war in every colony and the lives of everyone in North AmericaBy 1776 when military action and olitical ferment increased the move. Y well written account by Pulitzer Prize winning historian Elizabeth A Fenn One of the advantages of having a fine ersonal library in your home is the delight of going to a random shelf and lucking off an edition that almost Le rendez-vous perfectly suits your current interests a volume that has been sitting there unread for years or even decades just waiting for your fingertips to locate it Such was the case with my signed first edition of Pox Americana a used bookstore find that turned out to be a serendipitous companion to my self uarantine for Coronavirus the greatandemic of our timesAs horrific as COVID 19 has been for us as of this morning we are up to one hundred thirty four thousand deaths and three million cases in the United States a significant Molotov Mouths: Explosive New Writing portion of the than half million dead and nearly twelve million cases worldwide smallpox known as Variola was far far worse In fact almost unimaginably worse Not only was it than three times contagious than Coronavirus but rather than a mortality rate that ranges in the low single digits with COVID the verdict s not yet in variola on average claimed an astonishing thirtyercent of its victims who often suffered horribly in the course of the illness and into their death throes while survivors were freuently left disfigured by extensive scarring and many were left blind Smallpox has a long history that dates back to at least the third century BCE as evidenced in Egyptian mummies There were reportedly still fifteen million cases a year as late as 1967 In between it claimed untold hundreds of millions of lives over the years some three hundred million in the twentieth century alone until its ultimate eradication in 1980 There is erhaps some tragic irony that we are beset by Coronavirus on the fortieth anniversary of that milestone I typically eschew long excerpts for reviews but Variola was so horrifying and Fenn writes so well that I believe it would be a disservice to do other than let her describe it hereHeadache backache fever vomiting and general malaise all are among the initial signs of infection The headache can be splitting the backache excruciating The fever usually abates after the first day or two But relief is fleeting By the fourth day the fever creeps upward again and the first smallpox sores appear in the mouth throat and nasal assages The rash now moves uickly Over a twenty four hour All Our Trials: Prisons, Policing, and the Feminist Fight to End Violence period it extends itself from the mucous membranes to the surface of the skin On some it turns inward hemorrhaging subcutaneously These victims die early bleeding from the gums eyes nose and other orifices In most cases however the rash turns outward covering the victim in raisedustules that concentrate in Discovering Our Past California Edition: Medieval And Early Modern Times precisely thelaces where they will cause the most In This Land: The Purple Book, Volume Four physicalain and sychological anguish The soles of the feet the alms of the hands the face forearms neck and back are focal The Houdini Solution: Put Creativity and Innovation to work by thinking inside the box points of the eruption If theustules remain discrete if they do not run together the Cybercrime and Digital Forensics: An Introduction prognosis is good But if they converge upon one another in a single oozing mass it is not This is called confluent smallpox For some as the rashrogresses in the mouth and throat drinking becomes difficult and dehydration follows Often an odor eculiar to smallpox develops Patients at this stage of the disease can be hard to recognize If damage to the eyes occurs it begins now Scabs start to form after two weeks of suffering In confluent or semiconfluent cases of the disease scabbing can encrust most of the body making any movement excruciating One observation of such afflicted Native Americans noted that They lye on their hard matts the oxe breaking and mattering and runing one into another their skin cleaving to the matts they lye on when they turne them a whole side will flea off at once Death when it occurs usually comes after ten to sixteen days of suffering Thereafter the risk drops significantly and unsightly scars replace scabs and The Meaning of Difference: American Constructions of Race, Sex and Gender, Social Class, Sexual Orientation, and Disability pustules the usual course of the disease from initial infection to the loss of all scabs runs a little over a month Patients remain contagious until the last scab falls off Most survivors bear numerous scars and some are blinded But despite the conseuences those who live through the illness can count themselves fortunate Immune for life they need never fear smallpox again16 20 Smallpox was an unfortunate component of the siege of Boston by the British in 1775 but as Fenn explains it was far worse for Bostonians than the Redcoats besieging them This was because smallpox was a fact of life in eighteenth century Europe a series of outbreaks left about four hundred thousand One Small Step: An Anthology of Discoveries people dead every year and about a third of the survivors were blinded As awful as that may seem it meant that the vast majority of British soldiers had been exposed to the virus and were thus immune Not so for the colonists who not only had experienced less outbreaks but freuently lived in rural settings at a greater distance from one another which slowed exposure leaving a far smaller uantity of those who could count on immunity to spare them Nothing fuels the spread of aestilence better than a crowded bottlenecked urban environment such as Boston in 1775 except erhaps great encampments of susceptible men from disparate geographies suddenly crammed together as was characteristic of the nascent Continental Army To make matters worse there was some credible evidence that the Brits at times engaged in a kind of embryonic biological warfare by deliberately sending known infected individuals back to the Colonial lines All of this conspired to form a erfect storm for disaster Our late eighteenth century forebears had a couple of things going for them that we lack today First of all while it was true that like COVID there was no cure for smallpox there were ways to mitigate the spread and the severity that were far effective than our masks and social distancing or misguided calls to ingest hydroxychlorouine for that matter Instead their otherwise rimitive medical toolkit did contain inoculation an ancient techniue that had only become known to the west in relatively recent times Now it is important to emphasize that inoculation also known as variolation is not comparable to vaccination which did not come along until closer to the end of the century Not for the sueamish variolation instead involved deliberately inserting the live smallpox virus from scabs or ustules into superficial incisions in a healthy subject s arm The result was an actual case of smallpox but generally a much milder one than if contracted from another infected erson Recovered
the survivor would walk away with ermanent immunity The downside was that some did not survive andsurvivor would walk away with Tales from the Ballpark Tales from the Ballpark Tales from the Ballpark: More of the Greatest True Baseball Stories Ever Told More of the Greatest True Baseball Stories Ever Told More of the Greatest True Baseball Stories Ever Told permanent immunity The downside was that some did not survive and remained contagious for the full course of the disease This meant that the inoculated also had to be uarantined no easy task in an army camp for example The other thing they had going for them back then was a competent leader who took epidemics and how to contain them uite seriously none other than George Washington himself Washington was notresident at the time of course but he was the commander of the Continental Army and Isocrates I (The Oratory of Classical Greece, vol. 4) perhaps the mostrominent man in the rebellious colonies Like many of history s notable figures Washington was not only gifted with ualities such as courage intelligence and good sense but also luck In this case Washington s good fortune was to contract and survive smallpox as a young man granting him immunity But it was likewise the good fortune of the emerging new nation to have Washington in command Initially reluctant to advance inoculation not because he doubted the science but rather because he feared it might accelerate the spread of smallpox he soon concluded that only a systematic rogram of variolation could save the army and the Revolution Washington s other gifts for organization and discipline set in motion MASS INOCULATIONS AND ENFORCED ISOLATION OF THOSE AFFECTED ABSENT inoculations and enforced isolation of those affected Absent effort it is likely that the War of Independence ever a long shot may not have succeeded Fenn argues convincingly that the course of the war was significantly affected by Variola in severa. Ment of eople and microbes the epidemic worsened Fenn's remarkable research shows us how smallpox devastated the American troops at uébec and kept them at bay during the British occupation of Boston Soon the disease affected the war in Virginia where it ravaged slaves who had escaped to join the British forces During the terrible winter at Valley Forge General Washington had to decide if and when to attempt the risky inoculation of his troops In 1779 while Creeks and. ,
L arenas most rominently in its savaging of Continental forces during the disastrous invasion of uebec which culminated in Benedict Arnold s battered forces being driven back to Fort Ticonderoga And in the southern theater enslaved blacks flocked to British lines drawn by enticements to freedom only to fall victim en masse to smallpox and then tragically find themselves largely abandoned to suffering and death as the Brits retreated There is a good deal of this stuff and many students of the American Revolution will find themselves wondering as I did why this fascinating erspective is so conspicuously absent in most treatments of this era Remarkably despite the bounty of material emphasis on the Revolution only occupies the first third of the book leaving far to explore as the virus travels to the west and southwest and then on to Mexico as well as to the Pacific northwest As Fenn reminds us again and again smallpox comes from where smallpox has been and she ainstakingly tracks hypothetical routes of the epidemic Tragic bystanders in its The Mystery of the Two-Toed Pigeon path were freuently Native Americans who typically manifested severe symptoms and experienced greater rates of mortality It has been estimated thaterhaps ninety Rack Ruin percent ofre contact indigenous inhabitants of the Americas were exterminated by exposure to European diseases for which they had no immunity and smallpox was one of the great vehicles of that annihilation Variola roved to be especially lethal as a virgin soil epidemic and Native Americans not unexpectedly suffered far greater casualties than other opulations resulting in death on such a wide scale that entire tribes simply disappeared to history No review can Splendid Solution properly capture all the ground that Fenn covers in this outstanding book norraise her achievement adeuately It is especially rare when a historian combines a highly original thesis with exhaustive research keen analysis and exceptional talent with a en to deliver a magnificent work such as Pox Americana And erhaps never has there been a moment when this book could find a greater relevance to readers than to Americans in 2020 Review of Pox Americana The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775 82 by Elizabeth A Fenn This review is also available as a Podcast on Apple Podcasts Google Play Spotify Podbean here I encourage you to download and share it in your network Many reviews on an eclectic array of fiction and nonfiction books are available at wwwregarpcom and wwwregarpbookblogpodcom Have a great day Technically this is a good book Ms Fenn researched her topic thoroughly and offered up interesting observations of the Revolutionary eriod and how the spread of small ox influenced the course of American historyHowever it is an extraordinarily dry read and should How to Be Alone probably beursued only by those serious history buffs Pox American follows the smallpox epidemic that spread through North America from 1775 1782 tracing its impact on the Revolutionary War and Native American and Colonial society Historian Elizabeth Fenn is meticulous in chronicling the devastation using firsthand accounts and surviving records to sketch out the death and fear that followed the diseaseThe impact of smallpox on the Revolutionary War occupies much of the book Epidemiologically the Americans were at a disadvantage Smallpox was endemic in Europe and British soldiers were much likely to have been exposed to the disease gaining immunity This vulnerability led to serious losses during the revolutionary army s invasion of Canada as smallpox weakened and killed susceptible soldiersGeorge Washington struggled with the decision of whether to inoculate his soldiers Under the imperfect techniue of the time inoculation was a draining affair confining inoculees to sickbeds The Racial Theories In Context process alsootentially increased the risks of transmission as inoculees were contagious during the dormant eriod that followed inoculation Fenn skillfully uses this dilemma to build tension in a historic accountIn the ost Revolutionary Cigarette Kisses period Fenn focuses on the impact of smallpox on Native Americanopulations throughout the continent offering repeated accounts of decimated villages and devastated cultures Native eoples were vulnerable to the disease and the successive accounts of loss are heart rendingThe book is thorough and engaging but can be technical in its resentation of history The larger themes of the Revolutionary War aren t fleshed out The author it seems is confident that readers will remember battles and developments they may not have encountered since elementary school But the book is compelling in advancing its central theme the outsized impact of this continent wide epidemic I am giving this 4 stars for breadth rather than readability Pox Americana is worth reading but be repared for a lot of statistical detail Thoughts on the book Colonial history often rests on the idea of the 13 colonies on the eastern seaboard this book explores a broad interwoven system of trade and conflict between native tribes that roved to be a Gutsy Girls: Young Women Who Dare powerful highway for the virus We so often think of globalization as being a modern concept the spread of smallox in only a few years across the continent belies that it is just a Organizations As Knowledge Systems product of the 20th century We in the modern world rarely appreciate what it was like to live with these devastating diseases It makes me appreciate so much why we need to contain modern contagions such as ebola Westward migration may not have been so easy if the native tribes had not lost so manyit reminds of the fundamental social changes you see recorded in Europe after the black death During the years of the Revolutionary War while the American colonies attempted to wrest their independence from Enjoyed learning about the smallpox epidemic of the 1700s and liked how the author divided the book into three sections through the chapters the Colonies then Mexico and finally the Indian natives on the Pacific coast Alaska Sprinkled through out the book are some individual stories and in my copy at least there are a fewhotographs of Little Scarlet (Easy Rawlins paintingsictures and other smallpox lague items She has added some maps along with the ictures but while they
fine being with the other Never Sweeter photos I think it would have been better tolace those maps with the corresponding chapters sections as it would make it easier to see the atterns It s a little hard to read as at times it seems that the author took her informati Subject matter fascinating Writing awful Pages upon ages of speculation about how the smallpox didn t get to native Americans in Washington State Lots of similar details that make it honestly read like a thesis than a book The smallpox epidemic that covered the continent from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and from Canada to Mexicoare fine being
In The Late 1700s Isthe late 1700s is that very few eople have covered and this book could have been very very interesting As it was I learned a lot about not only the smallpox epidemic but also about what was going on elsewhere on the North American continent at the time of the American Revolution It was very interesting to learn how the smallpox epidemic affected the Revolution as well as the fur trade in Canada and Spanish expansion in the West This book was well researched and included a lot of rimary source material I had several Steam Heat problems with the book First of all though this is a very interesting topic it really was not enough to fill a whole book with It would have been better if it wasart of a larger work on the American Revolution or North American colonies Being in a 300 The Literary Language of Shakespeare page book meant that it got very repetitive The author kept reiterating the sameoints over and over again She also would say something like there s no way to tell where the Pacific Northwest Native Americans acuired smallpox from and then spend 30 ages trying to tell just that The book got very annoying after the first few chapters and I really just skimmed the last 100 ages I would recommend this book for someone who is very interested in smallpox but not for the casual reader Reading Scavenger Hunt North Carolina. Cherokees were dying in Georgia smallpox broke out in Mexico City whence it followed travelers going north striking Santa Fe and outlying Old Electrical Wiring: Evaluating, Repairing, and Upgrading Dated Systems pueblos in January 1781 Simultaneously it moved up the Pacific coast and east across thelains as far as Hudson's BayThe destructive desolating ソードアート・オンライン 1 (Sword Art Online Light Novel, power of smallpox made for a cascade ofublic health crises and heartbreaking human drama Fenn's innovative work shows how this mega tragedy was met and what its conseuences were for Ameri. .