Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America

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9780544313675: Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America
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What happens when a person's reputation has been forever damaged? With archival photographs and text among other primary sources, this riveting biography of Mary Mallon by the Sibert medalist and Newbery Honor winner Susan Bartoletti looks beyond the tabloid scandal of Mary's controversial life. How she was treated by medical and legal officials reveals a lesser-known story of human and constitutional rights, entangled with the science of pathology and enduring questions about who Mary Mallon really was. How did her name become synonymous with deadly disease? And who is really responsible for the lasting legacy of Typhoid Mary? This thorough exploration includes an author's note, timeline, annotated source notes, and bibliography.

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About the Author:

Susan Campbell Bartoletti is the award-winning author of several books for young readers, including Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845–1850, winner of the Robert F. Sibert Medal. She lives in Moscow, Pennsylvania. Visit her website at www.scbartoletti.com.

From School Library Journal:

Gr 5 Up—This well-researched biography of Mary Mallon, also known as Typhoid Mary, begins in 1906, when Mallon was hired as a cook for a wealthy family vacationing in Oyster Bay, Long Island. The outbreak of typhoid that swept through the household a few weeks later turned out to be a pivotal event that forever changed her life. George Soper, a sanitation engineer and typhoid expert, was hired to discover the source of the disease. He eventually determined that Mallon was what was known as a healthy carrier: although she experienced no symptoms of typhoid, her body continued to produce the bacteria, which she inadvertently shed. Soper took his discovery to the New York City Board of Health, and soon thereafter, Mallon was arrested and quarantined against her will on North Brother Island. Mallon has often been described as ignorant and a menace to society due to her refusal to stop working as a cook when she was later briefly released from quarantine, but Bartoletti tells the woman's story with empathy and understanding. The author also explores the myriad violations of Mallon's civil rights and her unusually harsh treatment in comparison to other healthy typhoid carriers (nationwide 50 carriers were identified at the time, but only Mary was quarantined). Energetic, even charming prose (chapter headings include "In Which Mrs. Warren Has a Servant Problem") will easily engage readers. Pair this work with Gail Jarrow's Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary (Boyds Mills, 2015). VERDICT Middle grade biography lovers will gravitate toward this compelling title.—Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY

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