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Dread: How Fear and Fantasy Have Fueled Epidemics from the Black Death to Avian Flu | [Phillip Alcabes]

Dread: How Fear and Fantasy Have Fueled Epidemics from the Black Death to Avian Flu

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 an 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.

©2009 Philip Alcabes; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Showing how even epidemics hinge on societal attitudes and expectations, Alcabes presents an engrossing, revealing account of the relationship between progress and plague." (Publishers Weekly)

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