Call Number
Material Type
Branchport - Modeste Bedient Memorial Library 1 J 614.51 B Juvenile Fiction Book
Hornell Public Library 1 J 614.5112 BAR Juvenile NonFiction Book
Wellsville - David A. Howe Public Library 1 614.5112 BAR Juvenile NonFiction Book

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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.

Author Notes

A former 8th-grade English teacher, Susan Campbell Bartoletti writes fiction and nonfiction for all ages. Black Potatoes is the winner of the ALA Sibert Award for Best Information book, the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Distinguished Nonfiction, and the SCBWI Golden Kite Nonfiction award. She lives with her family in Moscow, PA.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Little is known about Mary Mallon, better known as Typhoid Mary, apart from what can be garnered from case studies and wildly sensational newspaper articles, but Bartoletti impressively fills in the gaps with illuminating historical context and lively descriptions of events. At the turn of the twentieth century, typhoid could swiftly kill thousands, and the public health department would go to great lengths to stave off an epidemic. Once investigators identified Mallon as an unwitting spreader of the disease, she was quarantined and tested against her will, but her imprisonment raised questions. Can the health department go too far when protecting the public? Why was Mallon locked up but not scores of other healthy carriers who infected far more people? While addressing these questions, Bartoletti also explains the prejudice that led Mallon a single, lower-class, immigrant woman to be treated differently, the extent to which yellow journalism had a hand in Mallon's infamy, and the generalized suspicion of science and medicine (which is still alive and kicking today) that contributed to her demonization. Expertly weaving together both historical background and contemporary knowledge about disease and public health, Bartoletti enlivens Mallon's story with engrossing anecdotes and provocative critical inquiry while debunking misconceptions. Extensive back matter and illustrations round out this completely captivating volume.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this thoroughly researched biography, Bartoletti (They Called Themselves the KKK) seeks to illuminate the backstory of "Typhoid Mary," who allegedly infected nearly 50 individuals with the disease. Mary Mallon cooked for wealthy families in turn-of-the-20th-century New York City until she became the first documented "healthy carrier" of typhoid in the U.S. and was imprisoned in hospitals for most of her remaining life. Little is known about Mallon outside of one six-page letter she wrote, official documents, newspaper reports, journal articles, and other firsthand accounts of her. Though Bartoletti forms an objective portrait of Mallon's case, she often has to rely on conjecture ("Mary probably didn't understand that she could be a healthy carrier"), filling in gaps using deductive reasoning based on facts from that era. In the end, this study of Mallon's ill-fated life is as much an examination of the period in which she lived, including the public's ignorance about the spread and treatment of disease, the extreme measures health officials took to advance science, and how yellow journalism's sensationalized stories could ruin someone's reputation. Ages 10-up. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Bartoletti brings to life not only the story of Mary Mallon, but also both the historical context and science behind typhoid fever. Mary was a cook for a wealthy family, and when her employers' children fell ill, Mary was believed to be the problem. She was quarantined and mistreated by health and government officials. This work provides a look into the time period, the deadly disease, and the life story of someone caught in a storm of misinformation and fear. Narrator Donna Postel's voice does sound a bit robotic, but listeners may find this beneficial as the story discusses complex health terms and historical aspects. While the print book version offers a time line, pictures, and a bibliography, the audiobook does not. VERDICT This is a great option for teachers to use in class or for students interested in medical mysteries. A solid purchase for libraries looking to add nonfiction audio books with substance. ["Energetic, even charming prose...will easily engage readers": SLJ 5/15 starred review of the HMH book.]-Katie Llera, Bound Brook High School, NJ © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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