One hundred years ago, a mysterious and alarming illness spread across America's South, striking tens of thousands of victims. No one knew what caused it or how to treat it. Read more...
One hundred years ago, a mysterious and alarming illness spread across America's South, striking tens of thousands of victims. No one knew what caused it or how to treat it. People were left weak, disfigured, insane, and in some cases, dead. Award-winning science and history writer Gail Jarrow tracks this disease, commonly known as pellagra, and highlights how doctors, scientists, and public health officials finally defeated it. Illustrated with 100 archival photographs, Red Madness includes stories about real-life pellagra victims and accounts of scientific investigations. It concludes with a glossary, timeline, further resources, author's note, bibliography, and index.
- ISBN-13: 9781590787328
- ISBN-10: 1590787323
- Publisher: Calkins Creek Books
- Publish Date: April 2014
- Page Count: 192
- Reading Level: Ages 11-17
- Dimensions: 10.1 x 8.1 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.95 pounds
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > History - United States/20th Century
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > Health & Daily Living - Diseases, Illnesses & Injuries
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > Science & Nature - History of Science
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-02-17
- Reviewer: Staff
Jarrow (The Amazing Harry Kellar: Great American Magician) takes readers on a medical detective journey full of dead ends, twists, politics, and culture as she details the story of pellagra, a deadly disease caused by niacin deficiency. Prevalent in the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century, it primarily struck the impoverished in the South (where cotton had displaced nutritious food crops). The disease causes a patterned red rash, intestinal distress, dementia, and eventually death. The author’s extensive research turns up personal stories within the story; interspersed throughout are brief vignettes of “pellagrins” like Mrs. A. Sallie Graham, a 55-year-old Virginia woman whose “health had been good until she developed a skin irritation that wouldn’t go away.... After six months, she began to forget things and wondered if she might be going insane.” These individual accounts create an urgent backdrop of suffering and death for the story of the epidemiological quest to find a cause and cure. Archival photos of sufferers of all ages are poignant and graphic. A FAQ, timeline and glossary conclude the captivating tale, which pinpoints the reason bread is enriched today. Ages 10–up. (Apr.)