Isolation Reading for the Week of April 6

Here at UTP, we’ve decided to bring you some great books chosen by our staff for your work-from-home reading. Check in with us every Monday for some fantastic book recommendations. Kicking off our weekly staff picks is our marketing manager of humanities and trade books, Anna Maria Del Col.

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In academic publishing, we always like to say that books are “timely” (don’t get me started on our love of the word “accessible”). Never has “timely” been more appropriate, though, than when applied to our publication of Epidemics and the Modern World in January 2020. We simply could not have foreseen just how relevant this book would become.

This is a textbook for undergraduate students, written by Mitchell L. Hammond at the University of Victoria, but it doesn’t read like a textbook. I’ve been devouring chapters each weekend since the pandemic really took over my world in the way I normally devour novels and stories. Each chapter covers a different epidemic in world history and the narrative voice is strong and compelling. I started with the 1918 flu, then moved on to the bubonic plague, smallpox, yellow fever, and cholera. Reading the chapters out of order does not disrupt the narrative, and I find that each chapter, and each epidemic, provides me with exactly the kind of historical context that I need to get through this crisis. This kind of reading is by no means escapism, but as someone without a background in science or medicine, it is providing me with knowledge that I find useful and reassuring. I’m grateful to have this book and the expertise of its author available to me while I read in isolation. I highly recommend it to anyone who is struggling to understand our current situation and how it fits into modern history!

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Interested in finding out more about Epidemics and the Modern World? Click here to read chapter 8 “Influenza 1918: One Pandemic, Many Experiences”

Click here to order your copy of Epidemics and the Modern World.