Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor:
Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA;
Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia
Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University.
The 14th-century plague that decimated the medieval world left indelible
marks on the European psyche, culture, and genome (in the form of the CCR5-Δ32 deletion allele, which today confers some
resistance to HIV). Centuries later, the memories of that infectious apocalypse
were still so compelling that the Travelers Insurance Co included the plague
in their 1964 New York World’s Fair exhibit “The Triumph of Man.”
The exhibit’s 13 historical audiovisual dioramas depicted humanity’s
ascent from the African plains to outer space. The eighth exhibit, entitled
“The Black Death,” was a reminder of just how rocky and uncertain
was that ascent.
McSweegan E. Plague. JAMA. 2005;293(12):1521-1525. doi:10.1001/jama.293.12.1524-a