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NACCHO's Bookshelf

In an effort to develop a new resource for members, NACCHO recently asked its staff, “What are your favorite public health-related books, movies, articles, and novels?” With over 100 avid readers and film watchers on staff, we came up with a long list of favorites to recommend to members—from the seminal 1988 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report to the recent bestseller The Great Influenza.  The top ten titles are listed below.

A list of NACCHO members’ top picks is coming soon.  To suggest your favorite title please e-mail Ashley Bowen (abowen@naccho.org).

NACCHO's Bookshelf
 BandPlayedOn Randy Shilts. (2007). And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic (20th ed.). New York: St. Martin''s Press.

Upon its first publication twenty years ago, And The Band Played On was quickly recognized as a masterpiece of investigative reporting. Shilts'' expose revealed why AIDS was allowed to spread unchecked during the early 80''s while the most trusted institutions ignored or denied the threat.

Laurie Garrett. (2001). Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health. New York: Hyperion.

Laurie Garrett takes readers across the globe to reveal how a series of potential and present public health catastrophes together form a terrifying portrait of real global disaster in the making.

 Mountains Beyond Mountains Tracy Kidder. (2004). Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World. New York: Random House.

Providing health care for hundreds of thousands in a remote, impoverished region of Haiti, Farmer''s incomparable dedication brings change not only to the lives he touches directly, but to the efficacy of health care around the globe.

 Coming Plague Laurie Garrett. (1995). The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance (Reprint). New York: Penguin.

Laurie Garrett takes readers on a 50-year journey through the world''s battles with microbes, and examines the conditions that have culminated in recurrent outbreaks of newly discovered diseases, epidemics of diseases migrating to new areas, and mutated old diseases that are no longer curable.

 HotZone Richard Preston. (1999). The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story. New York: Anchor.

The dramatic and chilling story of an Ebola virus outbreak in a suburban Washington, D.C. laboratory, with descriptions of frightening historical epidemics of rare and lethal viruses. More hair-raising than anything Hollywood could think of because it''s all true.

 SpiritCatchesYou Anne Fadiman. (1998). The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures. New York: Macmillan.

When three-year old Lia Lee Entered the American medical system, diagnosed as an epileptic, her story became a tragic case history of cultural miscommunication.

PublicHealthWhatItIs  Bernard J. Turnock. (2009). Public Health: What It Is and How It Works (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

This book offers a systems approach to the complex modern US public health system, grounded in a conceptual model that characterizes public health by its mission, functions, capacity, processes, and outcomes.

 DemonInTheFreezer Richard Preston. (2002). The Demon in the Freezer. New York: Ballantine Books.

Richard Preston takes us into the heart of Usamriid, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, once the headquarters of the U.S. biological weapons program and now the epicenter of national biodefense.

 FutureOfPublicHealth Committee for the Study of the Future of Public Health, Division of Health Care Services. (1988). The Future of Public Health. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine.

This startling book contains proposals for ensuring that public health service programs are efficient and effective enough to deal not only with the topics of today, but also with those of tomorrow.

 GreatInfluenza John M. Barry. (2006). The Great Influenza: the Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History (Revised Edition). New York: Penguin.

1918 marked the first collision of science and epidemic disease. The Great Influenza is ultimately a tale of triumph amid tragedy, which provides us with a precise and sobering model as we confront the epidemics looming on our own horizon.


Is your favorite public health book, film, or article missing from this list?  Please e-mail Ashley Bowen (abowen@naccho.org) to make any suggestions for a future, revised list.

Purchase Bookshelf Titles

When you purchase a title on NACCHO's Bookshelf from Powell's Books, an independent book store based in Portland, OR, NACCHO receives a portion of the sale.

Powell's offers new and used editions of the books on NACCHO's Bookshelf.

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