The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine And American Politics

Mar 21, 2016

  More than fifty years before the American Revolution, Boston was in revolt against the tyrannies of the Crown, Puritan Authority, and Superstition.

In The Fever of 1721, Stephen Coss tells the story of a year that changed the course of medical history, American journalism, and colonial revolution.

During the worst smallpox epidemic in Boston history Cotton Mather convinced Doctor Zabdiel Boylston to try a procedure that he believed would prevent death—by making an incision in the arm of a healthy person and implanting it with smallpox. “Inoculation” led to vaccination, one of the most profound medical discoveries in history. Public outrage forced Boylston into hiding, and Mather’s house was firebombed.