Influentialbooks

Thomas Quinn, M.d.

January 13, 2008

Thomas Quinn, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health and an infectious diseases specialist, on books that influenced his choice of profession:

"The Plague" / by Albert Camus / Penguin Classics / 256 pages/ $14.95

He writes from the perspective of a healer, whose occupation was to try and prevent disease.

"The Great Influenza" / by John M. Barry / Penguin Group / 546 pages / $29.95

Shows what a pandemic can really do. As we worry about avian influenza, this is a fantastic book that really provides a historical perspective on medical epidemics.

"Guns, Germs, and Steel" / by Jared Diamond / W.W. Norton and Co. / 512 pages / $24.95

A bit encyclopedic. I wouldn't recommend it for casual reading. A retrospective on the evolution of man and how it was shaped by environment, and how important environment is to us today.

"Polio: An American Story" / by David M. Oshinsky / Oxford University Press / 384 pages / $30

As we move forward in medicine today, we need to be cognizant of the lessons that can be learned from past epidemics.

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