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On Immunity: An Inoculation

On Immunity: An Inoculation

Geschrieben von Eula Biss

Erzählt von Tamara Marston


On Immunity: An Inoculation

Geschrieben von Eula Biss

Erzählt von Tamara Marston

Bewertungen:
4/5 (30 Bewertungen)
Länge:
6 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Sep 30, 2014
ISBN:
9781622314980
Format:
Hörbuch

Auch als verfügbar...

BuchSchnappschuss

Auch als verfügbar...

BuchSchnappschuss

Beschreibung

Upon becoming a new mother, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear—fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what is in your child's air, food, mattress, medicine, and vaccines. She finds that you cannot immunize your child, or yourself, from the world.

In this bold, fascinating book, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. As she hears more and more fears about vaccines, Biss researches what they mean for her own child, her immediate community, America, and the world, both historically and in the present moment. She extends a conversation with other mothers to meditations on Voltaire's Candide, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Susan Sontag's AIDS and Its Metaphors, and beyond. On Immunity is a moving account of how we are all interconnected—our bodies and our fates.

Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Sep 30, 2014
ISBN:
9781622314980
Format:
Hörbuch

Auch als verfügbar...

BuchSchnappschuss

Über den Autor

Eula Biss is the author, most recently, of On Immunity: An Inoculation, which was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2014 by the New York Times Book Review. Her second book, Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism in 2010, and was described by Salon as ‘the most accomplished book of essays anyone has written or published so far in the twenty-first century’. Her work has appeared in the Believer, Harper’s Magazine, and the New York Times. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Howard Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in the Chicago area and teaches at Northwestern University.


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Was die anderen über On Immunity denken

4.2
30 Bewertungen / 22 Rezensionen
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  • (5/5)
    I found this book such a pleasure to read - Biss is a wonderful writer and weaves history, personal essay, and call to action seamlessly. I enjoyed learning about the very interesting history of vaccines and the author's concerns as a mother and as a member of our larger community resonated with me. I haven't read the other comments about this book, but I can imagine that the book was polarizing for some folks, as it is solidly in the "vaccine if you can" camp - but it really was much more than just that. Fans of history, fans of etymology, and fans of bioethics may really enjoy it!
  • (3/5)
    "as a mother...." for 200 pages. but some of the asides were ok. her unnamed sister steals the show every time she appears and I wish the book could just have been about her, honestly.
  • (5/5)
    I liked this very much, probably because it reinforced my own opinions. Through a blend of opinion, science, and philosopy, the author provides a well thought out defence of immunization and meditations on the nature of immunity. Overall, the book is more philosophical than scientific, but she does back her statements up with science. I was intrigued by her thoughts on the distinction between "self" and "other", and on the language that we use to talk about disease and our immune systems. (A warning: This book is unlikely to be appreciated by anyone who disagrees with immunization.)
  • (4/5)
    In this wide-ranging collection of essays, new mother Eula Biss investigates the field of immunology. Her observations lead her to consider vaccination from several metaphorical points of view. She is particularly concerned with the 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 strain of influenza, which coincided wth her son's birth and her own pregnancy complications. Worthy reading for parents and others who appreciate an erudite approach to social and medical issues.
  • (4/5)
    This book was worth all the hype. I can't believe I held out until it was in paperback.

    A collection of essays that looks at immunity from more angles than just "anti-vaxxers" vs. "pro-science." Biss looks at the historical angles, the mythological angles, the science angles, the class angles, the litigation angles, the math angles. Not the kind of book to pick up if you're looking for that one winning argument you can use to "win" against your anti-vaxxer cousin. Definitely the book to pick up if you're looking for thoughtful, sometimes poetic analysis, with the caps lock off.

    I appreciate the essay on the chicken pox vaccine. Even though I did know a girl, very well, who actually died of chicken pox, I feel strange brining up her name every time someone says, "Well, chicken pox isn't really dangerous."

    My commitment to the public health implications of immunizing not just for my kids, my family, but everyone, those who are more vulnerable than me and mine, is strong. And Biss makes strong arguments here on that behalf. Revealing some ugly, racist incidents in the history of vaccines, and making a call to those now with the privilege, the education, and economic stability to do their part to protect those without.

    But really, it's the way she makes it all personal, ties it in to her own human experiences, that makes this book so moving.

    Wonderful.
  • (4/5)
    Really thought-provoking, very well thought out and intellectual.
  • (4/5)
    For anyone interested in the anti-vaccine controversy, this is from a mother with young children who investigated it for herself. Biss writes well and brings many non-science factors into the discussion.
  • (5/5)
    In this brief and beautifully written book Eula Biss explores the meaning and significance of the concepts of inoculation and immunity in the individual and society. Each chapter is written as an essay on various aspects of the topic. It is not presented as technical/scientific information, though there is no paucity of facts in the text. Ten pages of sources and citations at the back of the book are interesting reading by themselves.Through facts, myths, and metaphor the author points out the importance of a larger understanding of important concepts. She explores how we integrate information into our systems of thought, hence the subtitle: "an inoculation". The result is an attempt to inoculate the reader against quick assumptions based on poorly researched facts and an awareness of the impact of metaphorical language on our impressions, opinions, and ultimately our world view.Through this book, Ms. Biss effectively demonstrates the value of the study of humanities in a world that is currently dominated by technology and sound bites. Kudos to her.One of my favorite quotes in the book is on p. 128 citing George Orwell's observation that thought can corrupt language and language can corrupt thought:"Stale metaphors reproduce stale thinking. Mixed metaphors confuse. And metaphors flow in two directions - thinking about one thing in terms of another can illuminate or obscure both. If our sense of bodily vulnerability can pollute our politics, then our sense of political powerlessness must inform how we treat our bodies."
  • (4/5)
    Read from October 27 to November 02, 2014Since the second trimester when our doctor recommended the Tdap vaccine and a flu shot for us and anyone coming around our soon-to-be-born child, my husband and I have discussed vaccinations together and with others. It's a touchy subject to say the very least. When I asked a question on Facebook about the weirdness of asking my friends and family to get those two shots before meeting our daughter, I was met with a fascinating amount of both support ("you're the parent, what you say goes"), resistance (because I was being "crazy", too worried, "can't protect her from everything"), and caution ("be prepared for the backlash", "you can ask, but don't expect everyone to do it", "make sure people know it isn't personal"). Needless to say the publication of this short book was timely. I'm now well into my third trimester and more concerned with just taking care of an infant than who is or isn't vaccinated, but it's still something that me and Jesse talk about. Do we vaccinate Evie? Do we follow the recommended schedule? The answer to both is yes and after reading this book and countless articles (both personal stories of not being vaccinated and science-based evidence), I'm even more sure that's the right choice for us. (Also interesting to note that since I posted the FB question, my newsfeed has started showing me more and more articles about vaccinations). Do I understand the fear other parents have about vaccinations, of course. Shooting your kid up with what sounds like a scary amount of disease and chemicals doesn't sound like the healthy choice, but at some point you have to put your faith in the science and research that has proven that it's a good idea.While reading this book, there were times I wish the author would have delved deeper into the topic she brought up. And occasionally I would get a bit lost in her vampire metaphor. But overall I found it to be just enough to explain the reasoning, the science, the history, and the research of immunity and vaccinations. Plus the author includes nearly 40 pages of notes and references which I find very encouraging -- it means she's not simply writing from her perspective as a mother, but from someone who sought out more information about a difficult subject (and I can definitely respect that). Highly recommend this one! It reminded me of Breasts by Florence Williams (I really have to find my copy of that book...)
  • (4/5)
    This was a wonderfully written and well researched book. Good for both those for and against vaccinations there is real emotion and an understanding of why we make the decisions we do.
  • (3/5)
    A collection of short essays, typically 2-3 pages. Recurrent themes reflect the role of metaphor and perception in medical science, indeed that Western culture repeatedly invokes either vampirism or warfare in discussing medicine and immunization, comparatively recently adding a cybernetic system approach ("immunosemiotics"). Biss intersperses personal anecdotes of health and child immunizations with diversions into myth, ecology, popular fears and prejudices. The essays are neither numbered nor named, but flow as a conversation, now branching out, now rejoining ideas discussed previously.I first read of herd immunity in these pages, the idea that once a threshold of individual immunizations is reached, the population itself enjoys a level of protection previously unattained, including for non-immunized individuals, precisely because vectors were closed down for the virus. Biss also examines variolation, predating vaccination and seemingly of a piece with sympathetic magic, in which pustules from an infected person are introduced into the healthy body of another (often child) to build resistance.I have doubts that we can vaccinate away our prejudices, or wash our hands of them. There will always be diseases against which we cannot protect ourselves, and those diseases will always tempt us to project our fears onto other people. But I still believe there are reasons to vaccinate that transcend medicine. [158]Biss discusses Hepatitis B virus, a case example in the way various gender, class, and race experiences prove as relevant to individual decisions for or against immunization. Her discussion effectively illustrates how reality looks to various people with different experiences, rather than pointing out why some people get it wrong or make a bad decision.These essays offer a considered examination of health in its many facets (for a person, for that person's community), how to attempt a healthy life in the face of so much ambiguous threat to our well being, and an appreciation of our history of attempts. Precisely what I look for in an essay: a reasoned argument, with a sweep taking in disparate ideas and disciplines, driven by curiosity and heart.//The first book I've read from Graywolf Press, and its reputation for publishing quality essays and non-fiction is upheld here.
  • (5/5)
    Wow. This book of essays is part memoir, part medical research, part study of popular attitudes and understanding.

    Before her son was born, Biss began researching vaccines. She had a transfusion soon after his birth, and her status changed from "like me"--middle/upper class, safe, clean, healthy--to "them". That Hib vaccine her pediatrician said was for "the inner city" so she declined it now might have been for his best interest. She had now received blood products, putting her into a high-risk group for many things. Hib is often asymptomatic in adults, and pregnant women are not tested for it--her doctor had no idea if she or any other family members might carry it. And suburban moms can be in a high risk group, even if their pediatrician assumes they are not.

    And from there Biss looks at the "us/them" attitude among ani-vaxxers, looks at the history of vaccination/variolation, looks at the fears people have about the current vaccination schedule and the vaccines themselves--even though most of these parents know very little about immunology, past vaccines, and past cases of definite vaccine damage.

    All in all very thoughtful, packed full of meticulously cited information, and also full of ruminations on parenting that every parent can relate to.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed the author's neutrality on this controversial topic. The book was both informative and entertaining; and those are the best kind to me. I want to learn but I also like being sucked into a story.
  • (5/5)
    Fabulous meditation on immunity. Extremely well written and thoughtful.
  • (4/5)
    This is a personal exploration of a mother's feelings about her review of the research about the link between autism and vaccination. It is not meant to be an evaluation of the research, but it does come down clearly on the side of vaccination. As such, it provokes strong reactions from the anti's.

    When I bought it, I thought it would help explain why the anti-vaccination crowd feel the way they do. I know they don't believe they are anti-science, although most do not have a science degree. Therefore I was disappointed, once because I learned nothing new, and second, because I cannot relate to the feelings of a new mother exploring the controversy.
  • (5/5)
    Biss says she has addressed this book to the many mothers she spoke to while pregnant, after her child's birth, and during the years she spent writing and researching this book. Even so, her clear, fluid prose carried me, a child-free male, through the currents of her meditative examinations of metaphors surfaced by the issue of vaccination.

    I came into the book certain about the necessity of vaccination and angry at the "anti-vaxxers" and their fear-based arguments for mitigating minuscule risks by endangering their children and society as a whole. Biss' book didn't change my mind, but it helped me understand the history and philosophy and some of the science behind vaccination. And it helped me to see behind the caricatures of superstitious Luddites or fearless giant-killers our society and media use to depict the (mainly) mothers who oppose vaccination.

    Anti-vaxxers are still terribly wrong. But I appreciate now that they are just misguided parents who don't recognize that the route they've chosen to try and keep their children safe is much more dangerous to the children and society than they can see.
  • (3/5)
    I liked what this book had to say and I'm in agreement with the author's opinion of vaccinations (what sane person wouldn't be?!), but I still had to give it a 3. I realize that as someone with no children and as someone already steeped in literature concerning diseases, plagues, vaccinations, etc, I am definitely not the targeted audience for this book but I thought I'd give it a shot. However, some of the historical references were written rather lazily. For instance, "Mather who had lost a wife and three children to measles, convinced a local doctor to inoculate two slaves and the doctor's own young son..." The "local doctor"'s name is Zabdiel Boylston and more importantly, it was actually a black man, Onesimus, who helped convince Cotton Mather and Zabdiel Boylston to attempt the inoculation for smallpox. Also the numerous allusions to Dracula/vampires were wearisome and weren't really necessary. (pgs 15, 16, 46, 68, 72, 77, 78, 80, 93, 95, 103, 143, 153, 156 oof)
  • (4/5)
    I read this book because I wanted to understand how concerned some parents are about vaccines and the health of their child.

    As an upcoming primary teacher this is a phenomenon (though, not a new one) that I will have to deal with every day in my classroom, while still being the best advocate I can be for all the children in my care.

    Eula Biss manages, very artfully, to use narratives and anecdotes of her life as a mother to frame this book. What I liked was how well she spoke about being overwhelmed with facts during motherhood. There's no end to the articles, recommendations of others, professional opinions, books, text books and websites that can give any one parent at any one time.

    I really, really felt for Biss and I think it's those narratives that make her well-researched, well-thought out and well-argued book so exceptional. She crafts the almost-perfect Western ideal of an argument, a well-balanced, thorough examination of a topic that makes a point without invalidating evidence on the opposite side, no matter how false it may be.

    What I liked was how Biss' non-fiction piece managed to validate so many concerns surrounding vaccines and how the way we think about ourselves and our bodies affects how we feel about vaccines. She examines the social history of vaccines and how our perceptions on immunity have changed throughout the centuries.

    What I enjoyed most was her discussion on vaccines and privilege and how many sources she references and provides. Biss has footnotes and a selection of articles, texts and academic journal articles she used in the back of the book and while it's not a complete list I feel like I am ever so slightly more empowered to read further into this topic on my own if I want to.

    If you have questions about vaccines or if you are feeling unsupported I would strongly urge to check out this book.

    On Immunity: An Inoculation feels as comprehensive as it is compassionate.
  • (3/5)
    I read this for Mark Zuckerberg's book club, A Year Of Books. With all the drama with measles and whether or not to vaccinate your child this was a good read due to the times. I felt like a lot of the information was no shit Sherlock material, but then you remember how many people disagree with facts & statistics despite the research backing them. For example, side effects, the book makes it clear with data that vaccinations cannot be proven to cause autism. I liked how the book explained her immunity (if majority gets vaccinated the few who can't or their body doesn't react to the vaccination are safe because they are less likely to be exposed). I hadn't drawn that conclusion, but it makes perfect sense. I felt the book lacked details at times, it was a very shallow look into vaccinations focusing on the history and reasons why parents chose not to vaccinate and then debunking their reasoning. I get why it didn't go deep because the author was telling her findings when she was researching vaccinations for her newborn son and it is a concern parents have. The book was all over the place at times and the author's obsession with vampires was getting on my nerves. Overall a good book to introduce vaccination debate and the history, plus its a quick read with 160ish pages of content.

  • (5/5)
    I spent the week reading this on the subway, which I thought would be a scarier proposition than it was, given the whole Ebola thing… people are wearing breather masks for their commute, for goodness sake. But I found it to be a very smart and measured contemplation of the ways in which we view our bodies, health and illness, our immune systems—the term is recent, a 1970s construct—and particularly the subject of vaccinations. Within that, she brings in a lot of interesting cultural touchpoints: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the history of inoculation, and the etymology of the metaphors we use for disease and the body—it’s a little surprising to note how many of the terms come from warfare. Or maybe it’s not. As someone who has a very uneasy relationship to doctors and medicine and illness, I found the book surprisingly reassuring.
  • (4/5)
    A book about immunizing children that is far more sympathetic than I could be to people who fear that immunizing is actually endangering their children; Biss points out that women in particular have historically had much to fear from claims of “science” that really just reinforced prejudice and harmed health. I really liked her treatment of anti-vaccination decisions as being as exploitative as the economic 1%: people who choose not to vaccinate their children, as opposed to people whose children are immunocompromised, are deliberately doing what they wouldn’t want everyone else to do, because then herd immunity would fail. They are treating the body politic as if it was not their concern at all, as if their own families’ bodies could only be harmed by outsiders and could not do harm themselves. This relentless, unidirectional individualism, happy to drive on public roads but not to pay taxes, is an American curse.
  • (4/5)
    “Wealthier countries have the luxury of entertaining fears the rest of the world cannot afford.” It took motherhood, for Eula Biss, to begin to question and explore inoculation, watching her son go through various childhood illnesses and allergic reactions. She expands her research to the history of immunization and addresses the many controversies, that have sprang up in our internet age. She also examines the myths and metaphors surrounding vaccines, cleverly using Bram Stoker's Dracula, as an allegory on these hot-button issues.Biss is a solid journalist and her prose is smart and deft. I think anyone who has interest or questions, about this subject, should pick up this timely and intriguing read.