Written by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Mary was a great cook, but she was a carrier of the deadly typhoid disease. It was likely she unknowingly put germs in food of people who later became very ill and died. But Mary never understood what it meant to be a carrier and couldn’t accept help from the medical community. They were trying to save the people of New York City.
Once again, Susan Campbell Bartoletti has done extensive primary and secondary source research in support of the story. This biography is filled with details and each one is verified by its source.
Readers get a glimpse of the frustration felt by Mary, but then in later chapters can relate to the frustration of the health officials. They really weren’t targeting Mary, but trying to do what was best for everyone.
Students will learn about this particular event and also how to do a solid, non-fiction report of their own. Core curriculum standards in literacy, as well as American history and health/science can be fulfilled. Among the story of what happened to Mary, readers will notice a story of how the science of health was developing in this era. Anyone involved in women’s studies might also find it interesting that even while Mary was quarantined, several men also identified as carriers were treated and/or observed, but never quarantined on a far away island.
- Title: Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America
- Author: Susan Campbell Bartoletti
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015
- Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
- Format: Hardcover, 229 pages
- ISBN: 978-0-544-31367-5
- Genre: Biography, history
- Grade level: 5 up
- Extras: Afterward, Photo Album, Chapter Footnotes, Extensive Bibliography, Index