Lux Humana – Book of the Week 06 / 2012 : Dread : how fear and fantasy have fueled epidemics from the Black Death to avian flu











Philip Alcabes: Dread : how fear and fantasy have fueled epidemics from the Black Death to avian flu , (2009)


Publisher’s description:

“The average individual is far more likely to die in a car accident than from a communicable disease…yet we are still much more fearful of the epidemic. Even at our most level-headed, the thought of an epidemic can inspire terror. As Philip Alcabes persuasively argues in Dread, our anxieties about epidemics are created not so much by the germ or microbe in question—or the actual risks of contagion—but by the unknown, the undesirable, and the misunderstood.

Alcabes examines epidemics through history to show how they reflect the particular social and cultural anxieties of their times. From Typhoid Mary to bioterrorism, as new outbreaks are unleashed or imagined, new fears surface, new enemies are born, and new behaviors emerge. Dread dissects the fascinating story of the imagined epidemic: the one that we think is happening, or might happen; the one that disguises moral judgments and political agendas, the one that ultimately expresses our deepest fears.”


Access in Helka-database:




Epidemics of Fear
Kenneth R. Foster
Science , Vol. 324 no. 5933 p. 1393

The Elusive But Useful Epidemic
Leigh E. Rich
Five 2 Seven , 04.16.2010

Prepared or panicked?
Leigh E. Rich
Center for Public Health Media and Research , 7.4.2010

Epidemics of epidemics
Mike Fitzpatrick
British Journal of General Practice , September 2009, p. 705

Dread: How Fear and Fantasy Have Fueled Epidemics from the Black Plague to Avian Flu ,
(Book Review)
Paul J. Edelson
Clinical Infectious Diseases , vol. 50, no. 2, p. 287

Diagnosis: DREAD – Talking about Epidemics, Panic and the Revenge of the Germs with
Philip Alcabes
David DiSalvo
Neuronarrative , 11.5.2009

Philip Alcabes Homepage

Articles by Philip Alcabes:

Our Time of Pestilence: Purchasing Immunity and Ignoring the Misery of Others
Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 2011, Volume 719, 1-9

Human Rights and the Ethic of Care: A Framework for Health Research and Practice
Yale journal of health policy, law, and ethics ; 2002, vol. 2, no. 2,  p. 229-54






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