Over the last several years I have enjoyed a literature survey of the major infectious diseases. These diseases are intricately related to the history of politics, nations, wars, migrations, and culture. I have talked about them with many of my friends, and several of them requested that I compile a bibliography so here it is. Enjoy.


  • Captain of Death: The Story of Tuberculosis.
  • Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure.
  • The White Death: A History of Tuberculosis.
  • The White Plague: Tuberculosis, Man and Society.
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World.
  • The White Plague: Tuberculosis, Man and Society.
  • Saving Sickly Children: The Tuberculosis Preventorium in American Life, 1909–1970.


  • Scourge: The Once and Future Threat of Smallpox.
  • Smallpox–The Death of a Disease: The Inside Story of Eradicating a Worldwide Killer.
  • Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82.
  • The Greatest Killer: Smallpox in History.


  • Polio: An American Story.
  • The Polio Years in Texas: Battling a Terrifying Unknown.


  • The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.
  • Flu: The Story Of The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It.
  • American Pandemic: The Lost Worlds of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic.


  • The Ghost Map.
  • The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866.
  • The Strange Case of the Broad Street Pump: John Snow and the Mystery of Cholera.
  • The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866.


  • The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years.
  • Quinine: Malaria and the Quest for a Cure That Changed the World.
  • The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria.


  • Typhoid Mary: Captive to the Public’s Health.

Yellow Fever

  • Bring Out Your Dead: The Great Plague Of Yellow Fever In Philadelphia In 1793.
  • The American Plague.


  • The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time.
  • The Great Plague: The Story of London’s Most Deadly Year.
  • The Black Death and the Transformation of the West.


  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic.
  • The Epidemic: A Global History of AIDS.
  • AIDS at 30: A History.


  • The Demon Under the Microscope: From Battlefield Hospitals to Nazi Labs, One Doctor’s Heroic Search for the World’s First Miracle Drug.

Yersinia pestis

  • Justinian’s Flea: The First Great Plague and the End of the Roman Empire.


  • Death in a small Package.

General Medicine

  • The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity.
  • Henderson’s Equation by Jerome Lowenstein.
  • The Legacy of Tracy J. Putnam and H. Houston Merritt: Modern Neurology in the United States by Lewis P. Rowland.
  • Joseph Babinski: A Biography by Jacques Philippon and Jacques Poirier.
  • The Fertility Doctor: John Rock and the Reproductive Revolution by Margaret Marsh and Wanda Ronner.
  • Triumph of the Heart: The Story of Statins by Jie Jack Li.
  • Dropsy, Dialysis, Transplant: A Short History of Failing Kidneys.


  • Deliver Me from Pain: Anesthesia and Birth in America by Jacqueline H. Wolf.


  • The Elements of Murder: A History of Poison.
  • The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York.
  • Molecules of Murder: Criminal Molecules and Classic Cases.
  • The 13th Element: The Sordid Tale of Murder, Fire, and Phosphorus.
  • The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements.

Do you have a favorite book? Let us know what moved you about it.