Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bad good guys
The flowering of institutionalized corporate crime at the end of the 20th century is often so opaque and obscured, it is sometimes impossible to see in which of many the blind alleys and shadows the tracks of the culpable may reside. Early in the 20th century, however, the nefarious and their misdeeds were easier to illumine. In Ithaca, if we had to have plutocrats, the...
Published on January 15, 2011 by Phil

versus
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Vastly Disappointing
As a Cornell Alum (Class '07) I read this book because I was born not far from Ithaca and am interested in the history of the area. I found this book to be a great disappointment. I agree with previous posts regarding the poor publishing quality of the book. This is more of a conspiracy theory book than an actual historical piece of any moment. What I found particularly...
Published on January 10, 2012 by JMF


Most Helpful First | Newest First

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bad good guys, January 15, 2011
By 
Phil (Ithaca, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Epidemic: A Collision Of Power, Privilege, And Public Health (Hardcover)
The flowering of institutionalized corporate crime at the end of the 20th century is often so opaque and obscured, it is sometimes impossible to see in which of many the blind alleys and shadows the tracks of the culpable may reside. Early in the 20th century, however, the nefarious and their misdeeds were easier to illumine. In Ithaca, if we had to have plutocrats, the Tremans seemed benign enough, though no less haughty and imperious. Their name adorns bucolic state parks and beautiful marina lands. The mass murder that took place in Ithaca in 1903 - the instrument of which was an entirely avoidable typhoid epidemic - is traced in THE EPIDEMIC with pellucid clarity to a self-protecting cadre of Cornell administrators, patricians such as the Tremans, and a more basic kind of crook fueled by moneylust. Tales of crime are often reframed as mysteries, yet this one was replete with purple drama from the beginning, involving crooked deals of a upper class brotherhood, a broad pathos of needless deaths, the first unmasking of truths buried for nearly a hundred years, and a redefinition of the elements of social welfare. This book gallops along with the engaging and rhythmic pace of a Wilkie Collins crime or suspense novel, though the heart of the story has more in common with the dark malice of a tale by Poe.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Epidemic, A Lesson for Today, January 29, 2011
This review is from: Epidemic: A Collision Of Power, Privilege, And Public Health (Hardcover)
The Epidemic opens with a juxtaposition of the survivors and the final victim of the Ithaca, NY typhoid epidemic. The cause of the epidemic was no doubt a crime of negligence that could be laid at the feet of many, but, in keeping with the culture of laissez faire justice, was ultimately placed upon the victims.

Although DeKok's book is filled with characters easily recognizable from history, both at the time of the incident and through their subsequent roles in industry and government, it is not a story about these historic icons. The Epidemic is a story about the many people who became victims of the greed, incompetence, and dishonesty of an irresponsible businessman, and a group of people intent upon protecting the reputations and the privilege of their own kind.

As the story unfolds, DeKok points out numerous missed opportunities that could have prevented or curtailed the loss of life through simple measures. As the epidemic took hold in the Ithaca and Cornell communities, it was met with inadequate half-way measures which seemed more designed to obviate blame than to effectively counter the spread of disease.

In a sub-plot to the actions of the water company, the university, and the city government, DeKok draws on his career as an investigative reporter to assess the role of the press in reporting the epidemic. We see a tale of two papers, The Ithaca Daily News and The Ithaca Daily Journal. The publisher of the Daily News, Duncan Campbell Lee, demonstrated the courage to risk his fortune and career to report the story of the typhoid epidemic honestly and openly. The Daily Journal by contrast, despite occasional forays into the truth, seemed content to support the self-serving myths of the water company and the university administration.

We can learn a lot by reading The Epidemic. Not just about the past, but about dangers that continue to threaten us today. Although we would like to think that the mistakes in Ithaca can't be repeated with improved government regulation and the protection of a modern judiciary, just stop and look around. Whether it is irresponsible oil and gas drilling, inadequate mine safety, or first responders breathing the "safe" air at Ground Zero, we cannot count on government regulation to ensure our safety. Money still talks, and it is only in retrospect that we can see the human cost. A free press and an informed public are still our best defense against corporate greed and irresponsible behavior.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Villains and Victims in Ithaca, New York, February 23, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Epidemic: A Collision Of Power, Privilege, And Public Health (Hardcover)
This is a well researched history of the outbreak of typhoid in Ithaca, New York, in the early 1900's. As a reader interested in man-made disasters, I found "Epidemic" to be an intriguing story of villains and victims. From the beginning of the book, the author draws you into the lives of the Ithaca "upper crust" and their disregard for the safety of the citizens of Ithaca. At the time, many of the regulations that are now in place to avoid such catastrophes as tainted water, were not yet on the books. People needlessly suffered and many died, their families having no legal means of bringing the water company responsible for their tragedy to justice. The book also includes a fascinating history of Cornell University as well as Andrew Carnegie's role in assisting those college students who, without health insurance, were in serious debt because of their illness due to typhoid. The author has promised that this book is first in a trilogy. I look forward to reading his next book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Ithaca, Damn the People, Full Speed Ahead!, October 30, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Having grown up in Ithaca and as a former mayor, I found the book extremely interesting and knowledgable about the city, university, class structure and the politics of the day. I will inform interested relatives and friends about this book and recommend their reading this piece of documented history as a "must read" and a book to be handed down to their children so they can better understand how life in Ithaca was in the early 1900 hundreds.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Vastly Disappointing, January 10, 2012
By 
JMF (Arlington, VA, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Epidemic: A Collision Of Power, Privilege, And Public Health (Hardcover)
As a Cornell Alum (Class '07) I read this book because I was born not far from Ithaca and am interested in the history of the area. I found this book to be a great disappointment. I agree with previous posts regarding the poor publishing quality of the book. This is more of a conspiracy theory book than an actual historical piece of any moment. What I found particularly unfortunate about this book was the lack of citation or credible source material, and the wild speculations regarding the personal life of leading figures, such as Jacob Gould Schurman, William Torrey Morris, etc. While it is perfectly appropriate to criticize their decisions regarding filtration and Six Mile Creek, it is not appropriate, in drafting non-fiction, to make unsubstantiated claims about personal lives and preferences. Because of the poor writing and the lack of references, it is difficult to provide a better rating of this material. Unfortunately the author took a very interesting topic and butchered the delivery to the point that this book is not worth reading.

To preempt any questions regarding my university affiliation, I am not an employee or otherwise associated with the university and am not related to any figures in this book.

I am a first generation Cornellian, double majored in history and government, and am now an attorney in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Could have used an editor..., June 17, 2011
This review is from: Epidemic: A Collision Of Power, Privilege, And Public Health (Hardcover)
This book could really have used the services of a good editor. It feels almost self-published. The author tends to rant on and on about what he must feel are interesting facts about the people involved in the book, but he was unable to build any really compelling characters, and as a result, the book feels hollow. He also writes that it took him fifteen years to complete this book. I think that, given fifteen years, most people could compile a much more compelling book than this. This would have made a compelling magazine article perhaps, or multi-part newspaper story, but as investigative non-fiction, it falls flat.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Epidemic: A Collision Of Power, Privilege, And Public Health
Epidemic: A Collision Of Power, Privilege, And Public Health by David DeKok (Hardcover - February 1, 2011)
$22.95 $17.80
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.