"NEW YORK TIMES "BESTSELLER A "NEW YORK TIMES" NOTABLE BOOK "America s Bitter Pill" is Steven Brill s acclaimed book on how the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was written, how it is being implemented, and, most important, how it is changing and failing to change the rampant abuses in the healthcare industry. It s a fly-on-the-wall account of the titanic fight to pass a 961-page law aimed at fixing America s largest, most dysfunctional industry. It s a penetrating chronicle of how the profiteering that Brill first identified in his trailblazing" Time" magazine cover story continues, despite Obamacare. And it is the first complete, inside account of how President Obama persevered to push through the law, but then failed to deal with the staff incompetence and turf wars that crippled its implementation.
But by chance "America s Bitter Pill" ends up being much more because as Brill was completing this book, he had to undergo urgent open-heart surgery. Thus, this also becomes the story of how one patient who thinks he knows everything about healthcare policy rethinks it from a hospital gurney and combines that insight with his brilliant reporting. The result: a surprising new vision of how we can fix American healthcare so that it stops draining the bank accounts of our families and our businesses, and the federal treasury.
Praise for "America s Bitter Pill"
A tour de force . . . a comprehensive and suitably furious guide to the political landscape of American healthcare . . . persuasive, shocking. "The New York Times"
An energetic, picaresque, narrative explanation of much of what has happened in the last seven years of health policy . . . Brill] has pulled off something extraordinary. " The New York Times Book Review"
A thunderous indictment of what Brill refers to as the toxicity of our profiteer-dominated healthcare system. "Los Angeles Times"
A sweeping and spirited new book that] chronicles the surprisingly juicy tale of reform. "The Daily Beast"
One of the most important books of our time. Walter Isaacson
Superb . . . Brill has achieved the seemingly impossible written an exciting book about the American health system. "The" "New York Review of Books""
Between August 1918 and March 1919 the Spanish influenza spread worldwide, claiming over 25 million lives, more people than those perished in the fighting of the First World War. It proved fatal to at least a half-million Americans. Yet, the Spanish flu pandemic is largely forgotten today. In this vivid narrative, Alfred W. Crosby recounts the course of the pandemic during the panic-stricken months of 1918 and 1919, measures its impact on American society, and probes the curious loss of national memory of this cataclysmic event. In a new edition, with a new preface discussing the recent outbreaks of diseases, including the Asian flu and the SARS epidemic, America's Forgotten Pandemic remains both prescient and relevant. Alfred W. Crosby is a Professor Emeritus in American Studies, History and Geography at the University of Texas at Austin, where he taught for over 20 years. His previous books include Throwing Fire (Cambrige, 2002), the Measure of Reality (Cambridge, 1997) and Ecological Imperialism (cambridge, 1986). Ecological Imperialism was the winner of the 1986 Phi Beta Kappa book prize. The Measure of Reality was chosen by the Los Angeles Times as one of the 100 most important books of 1997.
A contemporary history of a critical period, Are We Ready? analyzes the impact of 9/11, the anthrax attacks that followed, and preparations for a possible smallpox attack on the nation's public health infrastructure. David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz interviewed local, state, and federal officials to determine the immediate reactions of key participants in these events. The authors explore the extent to which these emergencies permanently altered the political, cultural, and organizational life of the country and consider whether the nation is now better prepared to withstand another potentially devastating attack. This well-reasoned and well-researched book presents compelling evidence that few with hands-on experience with disease and emergency preparedness believe that an adequate response to terrorism-whether biological, chemical, or radiological-is possible without a strong and vibrant infrastructure to provide everyday services as well as emergency responses.
Are We Ready? begins with an examination of the experiences of local New York officials who were the first responders to 9/11 and follows them as events unfolded and as state and national authorities arrived. It goes on to analyze how various states dealt with changing federal funding for a variety of public health services. Using oral histories of CDC and other federal officials, the book then focuses on the federal reaction to 9/11 and anthrax. What emerges is a picture of dedicated public servants who were overcome by the emotions of the moment yet who were able to react in ways that significantly reduced the public anxiety and public health threat. Despite the extraordinary opportunity to revitalize and reinvigorate the nation's public health infrastructure, the growing federal and state budget deficits, the refocusing of national attention on the war in Iraq, and the passage of time all combined to undermine many of the needed reforms to the nation's public health defenses.
Copub: Milbank Memorial Fund
The New York Times bestselling author of The Coming Plague, Laurie Garrett takes on perhaps the most crucial global issue of our time in this eye-opening book. She asks: is our collective health in a state of decline? If so, how dire is this crisis and has the public health system itself contributed to it? Using riveting detail and finely-honed storytelling, exploring outbreaks around the world, Garrett exposes the underbelly of the world's globalization to find out if it can still be assumed that government can and will protect the people's health, or if that trust has been irrevocably broken.
"A frightening vision of the future and a deeply unsettling one . . . a sober, scary book that not only limns the dangers posed by emerging diseases but also raises serious questions about two centuries' worth of Enlightenment beliefs in science and technology and progress." -- Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"As exciting and readable an account as you could wish." -- The Guardian
"Fascinating." - Bill Bryson
The Black Death vividly and comprehensively brings to light the full horror of this uniquely catastrophic event that hastened the disintegration of an age.
A series of natural disasters in the Orient during the fourteenth century brought about the most devastating period of death and destruction in European history. The epidemic killed one-third of Europe's people over a period of three years, and the resulting social and economic upheaval was on a scale unparalleled in all of recorded history. Synthesizing the records of contemporary chroniclers and the work of later historians, Philip Ziegler offers a critically acclaimed overview of this crucial epoch in a single masterly volume.--Bill Bryson
In this small book David Herlihy makes subtle and subversive inquiries that challenge historical thinking about the Black Death. Looking beyond the view of the plague as unmitigated catastrophe, Herlihy finds evidence for its role in the advent of new population controls, the establishment of universities, the spread of Christianity, the dissemination of vernacular cultures, and even the rise of nationalism. This book, which displays a distinguished scholar's masterly synthesis of diverse materials, reveals that the Black Death can be considered the cornerstone of the transformation of Europe.
The Black Death in Europe, from its arrival in 1347-52 through successive waves into the early modern period, has been seriously misunderstood. It is clear from the compelling evidence presented in this revolutionary account that the Black Death was almost any disease other than the rat-based bubonic plague whose bacillus was discovered in 1894. Since the late nineteenth century, the rat and flea have stood wrongly accused as the agents of transmission and historians and scientists have uncritically imposed the epidemiology of modern plague on the past. Unshackled from this misconception, The Black Death Transformed turns to its subject afresh, using sources spread across a huge geographical tract, from Lisbon to Uzbekistan, Sicily to Scotland: more than 40,000 death documents (from last wills and testaments to the earliest surviving burial records), over 400 chronicles, 250 plague tracts, 50 saints' lives, merchant letters, and much more. These sources confirm the terror of the medieval plague, the rapidity of its spread (unlike modern plague), and the utter despondency left in the wake of its first strike. But they also point to significant differences between medieval and modern plague, none more significant than the ability of humans to acquire natural immunity to the former but not the latter.
Praise for Small's earlier work on Nightingale: 'Hugh Small, in a masterly piece of historical detective work, convincingly demonstrates what all previous historians and biographers have missed . . . This is a compelling psychological portrait of a very eminent (and complex) Victorian.'
James Le Fanu, Daily Telegraph
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) is best known as a reformer of hospital nursing during and after the Crimean War, but many feel that her nursing reputation has been overstated.
A Brief History of Florence Nightingale tells the story of the sanitary disaster in her wartime hospital and why the government covered it up against her wishes. After the war she worked to put the lessons of the tragedy to good use to reduce the very high mortality from epidemic disease in the civilian population at home. She did this by persuading Parliament in 1872 to pass laws which required landlords to improve sanitation in working-class homes, and to give local authorities rather than central government the power to enforce the laws. Life expectancy increased dramatically as a result, and it was this peacetime civilian public health reform rather than her wartime hospital nursing record that established Nightingale's reputation in her lifetime.
After her death the wartime image became popular again as a means of recruiting hospital nurses and her other achievements were almost forgotten. Today, with nursing's new emphasis on 'primary' care and prevention outside hospitals, Nightingale's focus on public health achievements makes her an increasingly relevant figure.