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Quarantine!

East European Jewish Immigrants and the New York City Epidemics of 1892

Howard Markel

updated edition
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This riveting story of the typhus and cholera epidemics that swept through New York City in 1892 has been updated with a new preface that tackles the COVID-19 pandemic.

Winner, 2003 Arthur J. Viseltear Prize for Outstanding Book in the History of Public Health, American Public Health Association

In Quarantine! Howard Markel traces the course of the typhus and cholera epidemics that swept through New York City in 1892. The story is told from the point of view of those involved—the public health doctors who diagnosed and treated the victims, the newspaper reporters who covered the stories, the…

This riveting story of the typhus and cholera epidemics that swept through New York City in 1892 has been updated with a new preface that tackles the COVID-19 pandemic.

Winner, 2003 Arthur J. Viseltear Prize for Outstanding Book in the History of Public Health, American Public Health Association

In Quarantine! Howard Markel traces the course of the typhus and cholera epidemics that swept through New York City in 1892. The story is told from the point of view of those involved—the public health doctors who diagnosed and treated the victims, the newspaper reporters who covered the stories, the government officials who established and enforced policy, and, most importantly, the immigrants themselves.

Drawing on rarely cited stories from the Yiddish American press, immigrant diaries and letters, and official accounts, Markel follows the immigrants on their journey from a squalid and precarious existence in Russia's Pale of Settlement, to their passage in steerage, to New York's Lower East Side, to the city's quarantine islands.

This updated edition features a new preface from the author that reflects on the themes of the book in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time of renewed anti-immigrant sentiment and newly emerging infectious diseases, Quarantine! provides a historical context for considering some of the significant problems that face American society today.

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Quarantine!

Howard Markel

updated edition
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Reviews

Reviews

Skillfully explores the social, cultural, medical, and political issues surrounding the quarantine of East European Jewish immigrants during the typhus and cholera epidemics in 1892 New York.

Insightful... fine and well-written.

Quarantine! unites the best of the two worlds of social history and clinical history in a narrative style so personal and at times gripping that a reader forgets that the book is meant primarily to be a scholarly text... Markel is as much spinning a complex yarn as he is writing a scrupulously researched chronicle.

Beautifully written and thoroughly researched... This is a fine piece of history with a timely and thoughtful message; it deserves a wide readership among both health care professionals and professional historians.

One of the major strengths of the book is the balance between the social construction of disease and the biological realities of illness... Quarantine! therefore provides an important cautionary tale not only for historians, but also for medical professionals who need to deal with modern epidemics in a rational and humane manner.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
288
ISBN
9781421443669
Illustration Description
34 b&w photos, 1 b&w illus
Table of Contents

Figures and Tables
Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Updated Edition: Revisiting Quarantine!
Introduction: The Concept of Quarantine
Part I. Averting a Pestilence
The Typhus Fever Epidemic on

Figures and Tables
Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Updated Edition: Revisiting Quarantine!
Introduction: The Concept of Quarantine
Part I. Averting a Pestilence
The Typhus Fever Epidemic on New York's Lower East Side
Chapter 1. The Russian Jews of the SS Massilia
Chapter 2. The City Responds to the Threat of Typhus
Chapter 3. The Results of the Quarantine
Part II. "Cholera May Knock, but It Won't Get In!"
Cholera, Class, and Quarantine in New York Harbor
Chapter 4. Awaiting the Cholera: "Choleria!"
Chapter 5. "Knocking Out the Cholera!"
Part III. Legislating Quarantine
Attempting to Restrict Immigration as a Cholera Preventive
Chapter 6. Maintaining the Quarantine
Chapter 7. The Doctors' Prescription for Quarantine
Chapter 8. The Congress Responds
Epilogue: "The Microbe as Social Leveller"
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Howard Markel

Howard Markel, MD, PhD (ANN ARBOR, MI), is the George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine and the director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan. He is the author of numerous books, including The Secret of Life: Rosalind Franklin, James Watson, Francis Crick, and the Discovery of DNA's Double Helix and When Germs Travel: Six Major Epidemics...