The Speckled Monster: A Historical Tale of Battling Smallpox by Jennifer Lee Carrell is a riviting account of two brave contemporaries, one in the American colonies and the other in Britain, who took a lead from Middle East medicine and slaves’ accounts and began the process of inoculation. By taking matter from a good small pox case and transfering it to an yet unscathed person, they confered immunity. However, the process was risky, and many accused them of spreading the disease and for outright murder.
The two main characters are brave and fascinating, but the book begins slow and does not find its stride until about half way through. It is interesting to hear the voice of those diving into unchartered water, and wonder if you would have sided with the unknown dangers of innoculation, that could save thousands, or been against the practice because it risked lives and its effectiveness was not yet positive.
Try The Speckled Monster if you enjoy reading about revolutionary people in the field of medicine such as in Wendy Moore’s The Knife Man.