Vaccination has greatly diminished death, illness and suffering in the world. But no other medical technology has been so dogged with controversy. The book chronicles the development of the key lifesaving vaccines since the 18th century. It tells the stories of great scientists and their discoveries, of the protests and pain along the stumbling path of progress. This is the first book to tell the whole story of vaccination for a general audience. In light of controversies about flu vaccine and autism, it will be of particular interest to parents, pediatricians, public health workers and anyone fascinated by medical history. Read More>>

Also Available: Table of Contents and Index

Arthur Allen is a Washington DC-based journalist who has written on vaccine issues in The New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, The New Republic, Atlantic Monthly, Salon and Slate.


Washington Post

"Vaccine is two books, really. The first is a historical account of experiments with vaccination from the early 18th century, when Cotton Mather tried to inoculate his neighbors in colonial Boston against smallpox, through the peak of vaccine development in the 1960s. Written in a straightforward fashion, this book offers few surprises to students of vaccine history, but it does deliver a very accessible account of American (and, to a lesser degree, European) scientific discoveries, public health campaigns and their controversies. The take-home message: Though vaccines have clearly saved lives and stopped epidemics, the practice of immunization has always been controversial, with organized skeptics claiming that vaccines would anger God, kill children, cause innumerable diseases, worsen epidemics and produce defective offspring.

Then, in what feels like a separate book, Allen offers his own analysis of the current state of anti-vaccine sentiments in the United States. This section alone is well worth the price of admission. With genuine panache, Allen describes the "legislative jihad against vaccines" led by Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), as well as the mind-boggling array of political and religious forces that have, over the last decade, claimed child vaccination to be responsible for everything from brain disorders and autism to causing the very diseases the products are designed to prevent."
--Laurie Garret, Feb. 11 Washington Post Book World


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