Plague-Busters!: Medicine’s Battles with History’s Deadliest Diseases

Bloomsbury. Oct. 2023. 176p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781547606030.
Gr 6 Up–An engaging text about the most infamous diseases that have plagued humans throughout history. Short chapters on each ailment begin with anecdotes on what life was like as the disease was inflicting the human population, or the terrible symptoms endured by sufferers. Readers will learn all the details about each illness: where it originated, outbreaks, possible causes and (often outrageous) remedies, and how the disease was eventually cured or prevented and by whom. Red sidebars include further interesting, and sometimes comical, information about the ailment at hand. For example, a man’s diary revealed he wouldn’t dare wear his new wig after a rumor blamed the spread of the plague on wigs made from the hair of plague victims. Chapters conclude with a section on famous deaths from each illness. Illustrations are included throughout the text. Readers will find this title engaging, informative, but also gross; the authors don’t mind mentioning the “violent puking” or “runny poops” sufferers experienced. COVID-19 is missing from the text but is mentioned in the author’s note. Sources, further reading, and an index are included.
VERDICT Well-researched and entertaining, readers will thoroughly enjoy this stellar title.

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