author: Susan Campbell Bartoletti
published: 4 August 2015
publisher: Clarion Books
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What happens when a person's reputation has been forever damaged?
With archival photographs and text among other primary sources, this riveting biography of Mary Mallon by the Sibert medalist and Newbery Honor winner Susan Bartoletti looks beyond the tabloid scandal of Mary's controversial life.
How she was treated by medical and legal officials reveals a lesser-known story of human and constitutional rights, entangled with the science of pathology and enduring questions about who Mary Mallon really was.
How did her name become synonymous with deadly disease? And who is really responsible for the lasting legacy of Typhoid Mary?
This thorough exploration includes an author's note, timeline, annotated source notes, and bibliography.
I thought I knew the story of Typhoid Mary. I was wrong. I only knew one small snippet of her story.
Mary Mallon was an Irish immigrant, and naturalized US citizen, who worked as a cook from some of the wealthy elite in the early 1900s. It was a job that, for the time, was well paid and much sought after, especially for an immigrant woman. It was also a job that put her at the center of the spread of typhoid within the NYC area.
Over time, the story has, in many ways, dehumanized the real-life Mary, much in the way Lizzie Borden has become a figure of tales, almost fictional. But the truth of Mary’s story really illuminates aspects of her life that most of us probably don’t know. Including the fact that Mary was not the only carrier of typhoid, nor even responsible for the majority of cases. Yet she was the only one treated the way she was, causing her to become the demonized face of the epidemic.
The book is more than an historical account of the typhoid epidemic. It’s also a commentary on civil rights versus public health, of the treatment of women and immigrants, of yellow journalism, of questionable medical knowledge, of sheer misogyny.
I highly recomment this book!