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Short Synopsis
More than fifty years before the American Revolution, Boston was in revolt against the tyrannies of the Crown, Puritan authority, and superstition. This is the story of a fateful year that prefigured the events of 1776.

Full Synopsis
In The Fever of 1721, Stephen Coss brings to life an amazing cast of characters in a year that changed the course of history, including Cotton Mather, the great Puritan preacher; Zabdiel Boylston, a doctor whose name is on one of Boston's grand avenues; James and his younger brother Benjamin Franklin; and Elisha Cooke and his protégé Samuel Adams.

During the worst smallpox epidemic in Boston history, Mather convinced Doctor Boylston to try a procedure that he believed would prevent death—by making an incision in the arm of a healthy person and implanting it with smallpox. "Inoculation" led to vaccination, one of the most profound medical discoveries in history.

A political fever also raged. Elisha Cooke was challenging the Crown for control of the colony and finally forced Royal Governor Samuel Shute to flee Massachusetts. Samuel Adams and the Patriots would build on this to resist the British in the run-up to the American Revolution. And bold young printer James Franklin launched America's first independent newspaper and landed in jail. His teenage brother, Benjamin Franklin, however, learned his trade in James's shop and became a father of the Independence movement.

"Coss's focus on a specific location at a specific time fleshes out the complex and exciting scene in sharp detail, creating a historical account that is fascinating, informational, and pleasing to read." ---Library Journal Starred Review

"A solid first book in which impressive documentation undergirds an ambitious assertion." ---Kirkus

"The people portrayed in this public health story, their struggles and interactions, feel at once intimate and urgent, thanks to Coss' lucid telling of this fascinating story." ---Booklist
Library Journal Review

The Fever of 1721

The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics

Author Stephen Coss

Narrated by Bob Souer

Publication date Mar 22, 2016

Running time 10 hrs

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