Smallpox is an extremely deadly disease which, in one point in time, was the most feared disease on the planet. In the book Pox Americana, Elizabeth A. Fenn writes about the encounter with the deadly disease in the 1770’s to the 1780’s.
Her book was first published in 2001 in New York City, where she originally wrote it. Her book contains just under 400 words that explain the disease, some of the first encounters with it, who and where it affected people, and how they got the epidemic under control. Pox Americana is a very informative book that teaches the reader various things.The tendency of Pox Americana is to inform the reader that the smallpox epidemic was not just the common cold, but rather it was a deadly disease that affected thousands of people. The immense impact this disease had on America will never be forgotten.One of the author’s main contentions in her book is her reference to smallpox and being the world’s deadliest disease ever. This comment can be argued in many ways.
To begin, there are millions of diseases in the world that effect people everyday, smallpox not being one of the most common. Although smallpox did affect thousands of people, there are also many other diseases that have been deadly. There was no mention to cancer, AIDS, or even the common cold in this book when referring to the “deadly disease,” but these latter diseases affect millions of people. This is one of the main contentions in the book Pox Americana.
Another contention to the book is the information provided about how many actually died. Many people may argue that the facts are not properly backed up and that they cannot be proven. However, this book provides journal entries, dates, photos, and maps to help prove the information. Also, towards the back of the book the author provides a chart with mortality death estimates on it. Nowhere did the author state that her numbers and data were completely accurate, but merely estimates. This is another argument that people can protest on the book Pox Americana.
There are not many things in this book that can be argued about. The book either presents clear, honest facts, or states that they are merely estimates. The story consists of informing the reader, not arguing a point or discussing a controversial topic. It is merely informing the reader of a once common disease that has come and gone.One of my main objections that I have with this book is that it doesn’t present enough of a point of view. It is sort of like a bad research paper, without an opinion, it is simply an organized sheet of facts.
Although I wouldn’t call this book terrible or a failure, I would call it incomplete. It gives the feeling of reading an encyclopedia, but with more interesting details. It is understandable to have a weak opinion in an informational.