Monday, March 01, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: An American Plague (MG)

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793. By Jim Murphy. 2003. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 176 pages.

Saturday, August 3, 1793. The sun came up, as it had every day since the end of May, bright, hot, and unrelenting.

An American Plague is such a fascinating read! I'd definitely recommend this one to skeptics who think nonfiction has to be boring. To those who think nonfiction couldn't possibly be as well-written, as compelling as fiction. This one is definitely both.

The book tells the story of a town crippled by plague, by yellow fever. The city is Philadelphia. And since Philadelphia was the capital of the time, the government was essentially shut down the weeks and months the plague spread its terror. Not everyone in an official position fled the city. Not everyone who had prestige and wealth fled the city. But many did. Who was left to run the city? Who was there to tend the sick? Who was there to bury the dead? Who kept the city going? Read and see for yourself in Jim Murphy's An American Plague.

Did you notice all the award love? This one was a finalist in the National Book Awards, a Newbery Honor, and the winner of the Robert F. Sibert Award.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Sharon Kirk Clifton said...

Wow, Becky! This book sounds like a compelling account. Yes, I definitely noticed all the awards...before I read the title even.

Aarti said...

Ooh, this sounds really good! I will keep it in mind. There are so many books out there about influenza, aren't there?!

Aarti said...

Sorry, I meant "so many books out there about influenza, but NOT so much about yellow fever." oops- too quick to finish my thoughts!

Cindy Hudson said...

I agree with Aarti in that I haven't seen many books about yellow fever. I read one year's ago about the epidemic in New Orleans called Yellow Jack: A Novel by Josh Russell. This one sounds interesting too, and I'll add it to my list.

shelf-employed said...

This in one of my favorite non-fction books for older readers and it's also a great companion book for Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson. Although, Jim Murphy's non-fiction is actually a more compelling read than the fictional account!