The Secret of the Yellow Death

The Secret of the Yellow Death

A True Story of Medical Sleuthing

By Suzanne Jurmain

Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780618965816, 104pp.

Publication Date: October 2009


Red oozes from the patient's gums. He has a rushing headache and the whites of his eyes look like lemons. He will likely die within days.

Here is the true story of how four Americans and one Cuban tracked down a killer, one of the word's most vicious plagues: yellow fever. Set in fever-stricken Cuba, the reader feels the heavy air, smell the stench of disease, hear the whine of mosquitoes biting human volunteers during the surreal experiments. Exploring themes of courage, cooperation, and the ethics of human experimentation, this gripping account is ultimately a story of the triumph of science.

About the Author
To research this book, Suzanne Jurmain used primary sources of memoirs, medical log books and documents from the doctors who were actually involved in the conquest of yellow fever. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles and has two adult children - and one large golden retriever.

Praise For The Secret of the Yellow Death

"With plenty of gory details . . .  Even reluctant readers will respond to the gruesome descriptions of the disease and of brave volunteers . . . Quotations from the doctors’ letters and later accounts by other participants gives the story an immediacy heightened by conversational writing full of questions and cliffhangers . . .  powerful exploration of a disease that killed 100,000 U.S. citizens in the 1800s."--Kirkus Reviews