How Fear and Fantasy Have Fueled Epidemics From the Black Death to Avian Flu

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
Describes how fears over epidemics in the developed world have shaped the medical, moral, and political landscapes, arguing that a reexamination of how societies treat epidemic anxiety is needed.

Perseus Publishing
The average individual is far more likely to die in a car accident than from a communicable disease?yet we are still much more fearful of the epidemic. Even at our most level-headed, the thought of an epidemic can inspire terror. As Philip Alcabes persuasively argues in Dread, our anxieties about epidemics are created not so much by the germ or microbe in question?or the actual risks of contagion?but by the unknown, the undesirable, and the misunderstood.

Alcabes examines epidemics through history to show how they reflect the particular social and cultural anxieties of their times. From Typhoid Mary to bioterrorism, as new outbreaks are unleashed or imagined, new fears surface, new enemies are born, and new behaviors emerge. Dread dissects the fascinating story of the imagined epidemic: the one that we think is happening, or might happen; the one that disguises moral judgments and political agendas, the one that ultimately expresses our deepest fears.

Why we invent epidemic threats, create false terrors, and let irrational anxiety take over our lives

Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, [2009]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2009
ISBN: 9781586486181
Branch Call Number: 614.4 ALCAB
Characteristics: vii, 313 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at GL

To Top