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  • Richard Conniff

  • Reviews for Richard Conniff’s Books

    Every Creeping Thing: True Tales of Faintly Repulsive Wildlife: “Conniff is a splendid writer–fresh, clear, uncondescending, and with never a false step; one can’t resist quoting him.” (NY Times Book Review)

    The Species Seekers:  Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth by Richard Conniff is “a swashbuckling romp” that “brilliantly evokes that just-before Darwin era” (BBC Focus) and “an enduring story bursting at the seams with intriguing, fantastical and disturbing anecdotes” (New Scientist). “This beautifully written book has the verve of an adventure story” (Wall St. Journal)

    Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time by Richard Conniff  is “Hilariously informative…This book will remind you why you always wanted to be a naturalist.” (Outside magazine) “Field naturalist Conniff’s animal adventures … are so amusing and full color that they burst right off the page …  a quick and intensely pleasurable read.” (Seed magazine) “Conniff’s poetic accounts of giraffes drifting past like sail boats, and his feeble attempts to educate Vervet monkeys on the wonders of tissue paper will leave your heart and sides aching.  An excellent read.” (BBC Focus magazine)

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Archive for the ‘Upcoming Events’ Category

Salk and His Polio Vaccine? This Woman Figured It Out First.

Posted by Richard Conniff on January 26, 2023

morgan-isabel

Her name was Isabel Morgan (1911–1996). She was a virologist at Johns Hopkins University. And in 1947, she demonstrated the first effective polio immunization in rhesus monkeys. Morgan had devised a formalin-inactivated vaccine, at a time when most polio researchers believed such a vaccine could not possibly work.

“She converted us and that was quite a feat,” one of her many male colleagues conceded.

That vaccine was the forerunner of the one Jonas Salk introduced eight years later in humans.

So how come you’ve never heard of Isabel Morgan?

Read her story and those of other public health pioneers in Ending Epidemics–A History of Escape from Contagion (due out April 12, MIT Press).

Advance praise for Ending Epidemics: “A timely and highly readable account of humanity’s struggles and progress in the fight against infectious disease. Set across three centuries, from the birth of immunology to the antibiotic revolution, Conniff draws on the personal stories behind these great medical and scientific leaps. A fascinating read with powerful lessons for tackling today’s—and indeed future—epidemics.” — Peter Piot, Former Director and Handa Professor of Global Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Public Health & Disease Prevention, Upcoming Events | Leave a Comment »

ENDING EPIDEMICS: Announcing My New Book

Posted by Richard Conniff on September 7, 2022

If you’re one of the good people who have enjoyed my previous books, you could be a great help with my new one, Ending Epidemics: A History of Escape from Contagion. The Barnes and Noble deal has expired, but pre-orders are still an enormous help. Here are few early notices for the book, to give you an idea why pre-ordering might be a good idea for you:

Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone and The Demon in the Freezer, writes: “Ending Epidemics is an important book, deeply and lovingly researched, written with precision and elegance, a sweeping story of centuries of human battle with infectious disease. Conniff is a brilliant historian with a jeweler’s eye for detail.  I think the book is a masterpiece.”  —

Paul Offit, M.D., author of You Bet Your Life and other books on public health, calls it “A dramatic, page-turning account of the grim, never-ending war waged by infections on humankind.”

Pre-ordering sends a big message of reader support to bookstores & marketing folks. Please also spread the word with your friends, social media contacts, and your local bookstore. It can make or break this book.

You can read more about the book from the publisher MIT Press: “Ending Epidemics tells the story behind “the mortality revolution,” the dramatic transformation not just in our longevity, but in the character of childhood, family life, and human society. Richard Conniff recounts the moments of inspiration and innovation, decades of dogged persistence, and, of course, periods of terrible suffering that stir individuals, institutions, and governments to act in the name of public health.”

You can also read a sample chapter here, about two forgotten women whose work saves tens of thousands of small children every year from death by whooping cough.

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