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Books, Journals, New Media
November 19, 2003


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(19):2610. doi:10.1001/jama.290.19.2610-a

For pathologists and other medical professionals, the approach, arguments, and conclusions presented in David Koplow's Smallpox: The Fight to Eradicate a Global Scourge could be baffling, troubling, or even amusing unless the reader constantly bears in mind that the author is a lawyer and not a scientist. After offering a caveat on the limitations of his analogy, Koplow goes on to present the issue of smallpox eradication as though variola virus, having been tried and found guilty of capital murder, were in the penalty phase of prosecution, angling to dodge the death penalty in favor of a sentence of life without parole.