Long before COVID killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, yellow fever was THE disease to be feared, not just because no one at the time knew what caused it, but because of the terrible ways in which it killed. Sartoris Literary is pleased to reprint James L. Dickerson’s Yellow Fever: A Deadly Disease Poised to Kill Again, an investigative look at the history of the disease and the threat it poses for the future.

In a vividly told narrative, filled with poignant and graphic scenes culled from historical archives, Dickerson recounts the history of one of the most feared diseases in the United States. From the late 18th to the early 20th century, yellow fever killed Americans by the tens of thousands in the Northeast and throughout the South. In Memphis alone, 5,000 people died in 1878. Mississippi was also hard hit by the virus.

From Publishers Weekly: “[A] well-written history of the yellow fever epidemics that ravaged Philadelphia, New Orleans and other locales from the late 1700s through the 19th century….As interesting as the medical tale are the social aspects, such as the role of the city’s blacks, who believed they were immune to yellow fever, in treating its victims….Dickerson suggests that yellow fever is a prime candidate for use as a biological weapon, and he considers disturbing evidence that global warming could bring a resurgence of the virus in North America.”