Death in a Small Package
A Short History of Anthrax
Bacillus anthracis is lethal. Animals killed by the disease are buried deep underground, where anthrax spores remain viable for decades or even centuries and, if accidentally disturbed, can cause new infections. But anthrax can be deliberately aerosolized and used to kill—as it was in the United States in 2001.
Historian and veterinarian Susan D. Jones recounts the life story of anthrax through the biology of the bacillus; the political, economic, geographic, and scientific factors that affect anthrax prevalance; and the cultural beliefs about the disease that have shaped human responses to it. She explains how Bacillus anthracis became domesticated, discusses what researchers have learned from numerous outbreaks, and analyzes how the bacillus came to be weaponized and what this development means for the modern world.
Jones compellingly narrates the biography of this frightfully hardy disease from the ancient world through the present day.
About the Author
"An excellent resource for understanding the history of anthrax and its relationship to humans . . . Highly recommended."—Choice
"Jones's study breaks new ground in linking the histories of four types of anthrax: agricultural, laboratory, industrial, and weaponized . . . A great virtue of Jones's book is the dialogue between biology and history . . . Death in a Small Package beautifully illustrates the old truism that history is a dialogue between the present and the past and should be an essential text of historiography courses, as well as those on infectious diseases, military research, and bioethics."—Michael Worboys, Bulletin of the History of Medicine
"A rich history of anthrax, which weaves together themes ranging across laboratory science, preventive medicine, and the technological developments which brought together biological agents and pre-existing military expertise. . . [an] excellent book."—James F. Stark, British Journal of the History of Science
"Jones' book provides plenty of thought-provoking material for general readers and for specialist teachers of science and technology courses alike."—Mark Honigsbaum, Social History of Medicine
"Death in a Small Package is interesting, well written, and accessible, presenting a worthwhile addition to the history of modern medicine and bacteriological science."—Karen Brown, Isis
"This history of anthrax describes the bacteria's transformation from agricultural disease to biological weapon."—Science News
|The Johns Hopkins University Press|
|Johns Hopkins Biographies of Disease|
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