Defining Documents in World History: Pandemics, Plagues & Public Health

Salem. 2 vols. Aug. 2020. 800p. ed. by ed. by Michael Shally-Jensen. ISBN 9781642657333. $295. REF
In this new two-volume entry in the “Defining Documents in World History” series, editor Shally-Jensen (Careers in Human Services) compiles 60 primary source documents about disease and public health, from antiquity (Thucydides’s account of “the Plague of Athens”), to the present (an interview with the director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities on the impact of COVID-19 on people from marginalized communities). Other source documents here are book excerpts, legal documents, or speeches. Each source document is framed by an overview, author notes, essential themes, an essay by a subject expert, and further reading.
VERDICT In addition to examining epidemics throughout history, readers can explore documents relating to child labor, vaccine safety, or alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs. Likely to see most use in academic settings, with some appeal in public libraries, given that COVID-19 is a major concern for many.
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