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Book and Media Reviews
June 21, 2006

Leprosy, History

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2006;295(23):2791-2795. doi:10.1001/jama.295.23.2793

Leprosy was called by 19th-century Hawaiians “the sickness that is a crime.” This fusion of the disease's medical and sociologic aspects is compellingly articulated in John Tayman's nonfiction book The Colony.

The author, who has served on three magazine editorial staffs, intensively interviewed participants, researched 8000 archive pages, and collaborated with three physicians during two years of preparation. Tayman documents The Colony with 67 pages of endnotes and includes 31 monochrome plates, highlighted by a rare deathbed photograph of Hawaii leprosy humanitarian Father Damien.

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