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Book and Media Reviews
July 19, 2006

Smallpox Control History

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2006;296(3):336-341. doi:10.1001/jama.296.3.337

It is a challenge for 21st-century readers to fully enter the world described in this book. One must set aside much modern knowledge, for example, of how smallpox is spread and the efficacy and usual safety of smallpox vaccination, and also recall that, between 1800 and 1947, “British India” included imperial territory that is now the nations of Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. (Fortunately, the additional need to comprehend various terms that were and sometimes still are peculiar to India is obviated by the inclusion of a glossary.) Overcoming those challenges, however, is very much worth the effort.