Rotting Face : Smallpox and the American Indian (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Caxton Press, 2001 - History - 329 pages
2 Reviews
Recent cases of anthrax in the United States have generated much discussion about the threat Americans may face from chemical and biological terrorist attacks. Some experts believe other biological agents pose far greater threats than anthrax. Smallpox is one of these. Smallpox is a contagious virus with a high mortality rate. But in 1980, after a thirteen-year campaign, the World Health Organization officially declared the disease eradicated. Smallpox vaccinations haven't been given to the general population in the United States since 1972. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, American Indians called smallpox Rotting Face, a plague so terrible parents sometimes killed their children to save them from the agony. R. G. Robertson tells the story of America's last great smallpox epidemic. The smallpox outbreak of 1837-1838 on the Northern Plains, forever changed the political and social structure of the tribes in that region. Before it ran out of human fuel, Rotting Face claimed an estimated 20,000 natives, doing more damage to the tribes in one year than all the military expeditions sent against the American Indian before or after. Robertson details the history of smallpox and the profound impact the disease had in Europe, Asia and other regions of the Americas, where it killed or maimed rich and poor, royalty and peasant alike. It also gives the reader a chilling look at what can happen when the disease attacks a virgin population with little immunity -- like modern-day America. Robertson's gripping account also dispels some popular myths about the role of early-day whites in the spread of this devastating disease.
  

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Rotting face: smallpox and the American Indian

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The term rotting face refers to the confluent pustules that were a common symptom of the variola major strain of smallpox in Native American communities. Robertson, a retired businessman and ... Read full review

Review: Rotting Face: Smallpox and the American Indian

User Review  - Emily Sours - Goodreads

terribly written, very boring, not really about small pox, but very detailed descriptions of the trading posts. Read full review

Contents

Early Spring 1837
1
Variola Major
37
Late Spring 1837
61
Smallpox in the New World
97
Early Summer 1837
139
The Village Tribes of the Upper Missouri
157
Mid Summer 1837
167
Smallpox and the Fur Trade After the Revolution
185
Autumn 1837
229
Technology and Change
239
1838
251
Aftermath
283
Blame
297
Bibliography
315
Index
323
The author
329

Late Summer 1837
201
Prevention
219

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Popular passages

Page xvii - I am Wounded, and by Whom, by those same White Dogs that I have always Considered, and treated as Brothers. I do not fear Death my friends. You Know it, but to die with my face rotten, that even the Wolves will shrink with horror at seeing Me, and say to themselves, that is the 4 Bears the Friend of the Whites— "Listen well what I have to say, as it will be the last time you will hear Me.
Page xvii - My Friends one and all, Listen to what I have to say — Ever since I can remember, I have loved the Whites, I have lived With them ever since I was a Boy, and to the best of my Knowledge, I have never wronged a White Man, on the Contrary, I have always Protected them from the insults of Others, Which they cannot deny. The 4 Bears never saw a White Man hungry, but what he gave him to eat, Drink, and a Buffaloe skin to sleep on, in time of Need. I was always ready to die for them, Which they cannot...
Page xvii - I have lived With them ever since I was a Boy, and to the best of my Knowledge I have never Wronged a White Man; on the Contrary, I have always protected them from the insults of Others, Which they cannot deny. The 4 Bears never saw a White Man hungry, but what he gave him to eat, Drink, and a buffaloe skin to sleep on, in time of Need. I was always ready to die for them, which they cannot deny. I have done every thing that a red Skin could do for them, and how have they repaid itl Wth ingratitude!
Page xvii - I do not fear death, my friends. You know it. But to die with my face rotten, that even the wolves will shrink with horror at seeing me, and say to themselves, "That is the Four Bears, the friend of the whites.
Page xvii - Bears, the friend of the whites. Listen well what I have to say, as it will be the last time you will hear me. Think of your wives, children, brothers, sisters, friends, and in fact all that you hold dear— are all dead, or dying, with their faces all rotten, caused by those dogs the whites?
Page xvii - Dogs, they have deceived Me, them that I always considered as Brothers, has turned Out to be My Worst enemies.

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About the author (2001)

R.G. Robertson served as a Marine Corps officer in Vietnam, then earned an MBA from the University of Michigan.  His other books include Idaho Echoes in Time and Competitive Struggle:  America's Western Fur Trading Posts.

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