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The Book Forum
June 23, 1978

Plague! The Shocking Story of a Dread Disease in America Today

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago

JAMA. 1978;239(25):2699. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280520071029

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The author has written an anecdotal account of the plague, designed for the layman but holding considerable interest for physicians. He recounts some details of the great epidemics of the past and offers information on pathogenesis, clinical course, and epidemiology. In journalistic style he describes recent outbreaks, both epidemic and sporadic. A surprising number of cases have occurred in the United States, and apparently the stage is set for further outbreaks.

For any but the layman, the value of the book is considerably impaired through the absence of references. The author, after listing 17 good standard works that range from Boccaccio to Burnet, indicates that nearly 700 other references were used, including newspaper accounts and magazine articles, as well as scientific publications, but he does not list these. The principal sources for each chapter could easily have been inserted in a short appendix. As it is, however, the occasional purple

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