COVID-19 and Other Pandemics: A Comparison Reviews

COVID-19 and Other Pandemics: A Comparison: ISBN 978-1-6782-0042-8 / eBook: 978-1-6782-0043-5
Kirkus Reviews, Feb 15, 2021

A concise but thorough and cohesive overview of pandemics from ancient times to 2020.
Each of the seven chapters in this work describes pandemics from different time periods and geographical areas. Opening with a chart showing the death tolls of 20 different pandemics, the introduction notes that the grim reality of corpses piling up in New York City in spring 2020 is just one commonality among worldwide deathly contagions. Opening with ancient plagues, the text clarifies the distinction between epidemic and pandemic and explains the link between agricultural societies and pandemics. Throughout, the text offers food for thought, including strong evidence that European plagues led to socio-economic upheaval, social restructuring, and religious crises while diseases brought to the Americas by Europeans created deadly and psychologically damaging burdens to Indigenous and enslaved African people. Other topics covered include the science behind vaccinations; parallels between people in 1918 and 2020 who rejected public health advice; and inhumane behaviors during pandemics. The final chapter, dealing with our current pandemic, discusses political factors and social inequalities relating to Covid-19 in the U.S., ending on a cautionary note. The pace of the writing is generally good, and the layout is excellent, with relevant photographs and plenty of helpful sidebars. Fascinating—and sometimes grisly—quotations from long-ago writers about ancient plagues and stories from modern survivors of the Spanish flu, polio, and HIV put a human face on the suffering.
Timely and worthwhile. (source notes, further reading, index, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

COVID-19 and Other Pandemics: A Comparison: ISBN 978-1-6782-0042-8 / eBook: 978-1-6782-0043-5
School Library Connection, August/September, 2021

Though the world is still in the throes of COVID-19, we need to remind ourselves that pandemics are not new and that many of them have been many times more deadly than the pandemic we face today. We must also remind ourselves that there will be future pandemics facing humanity. Nardo gives the reader a look at pandemics of the past and helps us understand what science has learned from them. He also goes into the effects disease had on the New World, both in terms of loss of life within the Native population and the effect their deaths had on the global economy of the time. The Aztec people were almost totally wiped out by disease. They believed that the diseases were caused by the gods and, since they noticed that the conquerors were not getting sick, many of them turned to the new “gods” as their salvation. He explains that the need for many laborers to work fields coupled with the lack of local people to do the work led to the expansion of the African slave trade. Nardo ends the work with a good discussion of COVID-19 and what has happened so far. He does not take sides on the debates swirling in our society. He provides facts and allows the reader to make his/her own decision. The book has excellent illustrations, a good bibliography and an index. I think this title will be very useful for middle school libraries.
Patricia Susan Brown, Educational Reviewer, Auburndale, Florida