Thursday, November 20, 2014

No Man is an Island

I've written about Eula and her books before -- HERE and ALSO HERE and I've remarked on the beauty and clarity of her prose, the truly original metaphors and literary allusions, and most of all, the unexpected connections that arise from her thoughts and research. This latest book is no exception. (One word -- Dracula.)

Inoculation is something that has to be on the mind of every young mother. And when Eula was faced with the question of doing what was best for her child in view of the vigorous anti-immunization movement, she did masses of research. This book is the product of that research but it's so much more than information for worried mommies -- it's a philosophical treatise on society and human nature.  

There's no way I can do the book justice so I'll let some of the Big Guns speak . . . or you can listen to the author herself in this NPR INTERVIEW.:

"Elegant, intelligent and very beautiful book, which occupies a space between research and reflection, investigating our attitudes toward immunity and inoculation through a personal and cultural lens."—Los Angeles Times

"On Immunity casts a spell. . . . There's a drama in watching this smart writer feel her way through this material. She's a poet, an essayist, and a class spy. She digs honestly into her own psyche and into those of 'people like me,' and she reveals herself as believer and apostate, moth and flame."—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
"Biss infuses her in-depth study on why we as a society fear vaccines with her own experiences with raising a child. She cites literary greats (Sontag, Stoker, Voltaire) on the topic of immunization, connecting literary history with our deep-rooted avoidance of protective shots."The Huffington Post, Best Books for Fall 2014
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
"An eloquent consideration of the anti-vaccination movement. . . . [Biss] lays out an argument for vaccination that encompasses literature, history, science, and her fears and questions when deciding to vaccinate her own children. She brings a sober, erudite, and humane voice to an often overheated debate."—The New Yorker, "Books to Watch Out For"

It's an important book about an important question -- because  we're all in this life together. . .


Thérèse said...

Yes immunization is not only a personal choice...
Thks for the recommendation.

Ms. A said...

Scary, scary topic and I'm glad I don't have to make those choices for my children anymore.

As someone who has dealt with continuing issues from an adverse drug reaction to medication over 30 years and especially one this past year, they ALL scare me.

NCmountainwoman said...

This anti-vaccination movement was initiated by a fraudulent report in the respected British journal Lancet. In 1998, Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a study supposedly linking immunizations to development of autism. Lancet retracted the article and Wakefield's medical license was revoked when it was proved that the "study" was totally flawed in almost every scientific way. He even made up "data."

Yet time and again, the anti-vaccination movement continue to refer to this horrid man's fraudulent article.

I believe that it is our litigious society that causes physicians to easily accept the parent's decision without giving them the full scope of scientific study. They fear being seen as coercing parents to vaccinate.

What a tragedy when a baby too young to be fully vaccinated dies from a preventable illness spread by a child whose parents chose not to vaccinate.

Sorry for taking up so much space, but this is an issue that really bothers me.

Carol Crump Bryner said...

I can still remember my mother's relief when she took us to the doctor to be vaccinated against polio in the 1950's. It was a frightening epidemic, and parents were so grateful when the vaccine came out and they could protect their children from it. Thanks for this book recommendation, Vicki.

Vicki Lane said...

I too remember the polio epidemics and having to avoid public places. The polio vaccine was a wonderful thing -- I also remember mentioning polio and a young woman asked, 'What's polio?' Now that's success!