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Plagues in the Nation is a narrative history of America through major outbreaks, one that examines how law and government affected the outcome of the epidemics that struck America, and how those outbreaks have in turn shaped our government.

Using the story of the efforts to contain COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) and looking back on the panic-inducing arrival of Ebola on American soil (something with which the author had direct experience) Polly Price presents a fascinating history that has never been fully explored, and one that has great bearing on the present day.

Through each major epidemic, some all but forgotten, like Yellow Fever, some memorialized, like Spanish flu, still others more recent, like HIV/AIDS, this book examines how our country learned—and failed to learn—how to address the panic and chaos that are the companions of contagion.

The book is being funded by the Carnegie Corporation. This article on the Carnegie web site provides background information on the book.

Plagues in the Nation is written by Polly Price of Emory University. The literary agent is Jessica Papin of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. The publisher is Beacon Press.

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