Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary

Fatal FeverWritten by Gail Jarrow

As a great fan of historical fiction and nonfiction, this history/mystery kept me on the edge of my seat. In March 1907, the lives of three remarkable people collided at a New York City brownstone where Mary Mallon worked as a cook. They were brought together by typhoid fever, a dreaded scourge that killed tens of thousands of Americans each year. Fatal Fever is the first middle-grade trade book that tells the true story of the woman who unwittingly spread deadly bacteria, the epidemiologist who discovered her trail of infection, and the health department that decided her fate. This gripping story follows this tragic disease as it shatters lives from the early twentieth century to today. Full of historic photos, posters, and mini-bios of all those involved in solving one of the more horrific American scientific mysteries of the he 20th century.

Review by Kim Jones, West Kearns Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 5-12

In the early 1900s typhoid fever was running rampant across North America and little was being done to track down the source of this often fatal disease. That is until Dr. George Soper traced an outbreak of the disease to a New York City cook named Mary Mallon. Then begins the doctor’s incredible journey to try and stop this “Typhoid Mary” from spreading the deadly bacteria to others. This a fascinating piece of history that is taken from eye witness accounts, court documents, newspaper articles and more. It also illustrates just how easily epidemics and pandemics can start in society due to lack of basic hygiene and common sense. The end of the book also has a chapter about famous people and their families who suffered and sometimes died from this horrible disease. I would highly recommend this book for 5th graders and up.

Review by Lynda H. Wilson, David Gourley Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Interest Level: 5th-12th Grade

Author Website: http://www.gailjarrow.com/

Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary
Written by Gail Jarrow
Calkins Creek
175 pages
Release Date: March 10, 2015

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