On Immunity: An Inoculation

by Eula Biss

eBooks of the Month The Real World

On Immunity: An Inoculation Synopsis

In this bold, fascinating book, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear - fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what may be in your children's air, food, mattresses, medicines, and vaccines. Reflecting on her own experience as a new mother, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. She extends a conversation with other mothers to meditations on Voltaire's Candide, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Susan Sontag's AIDS and Its Metaphors, and beyond. On Immunity is an inoculation against our fear and a moving account of how we are all interconnected - our bodies and our fates.

On Immunity: An Inoculation Press Reviews

Biss advocates eloquently for childhood immunization, making her case as an anxious new mother intent on protecting her son - and understanding the consequences. Her exploration is both historical and emotional... Biss frankly and optimistically looks at our 'unkempt
world and our shared mission to protect one another.



- Publishers Weekly, starred review

A thoughtful, withering critique [of] more recent fears of vaccines... [Biss] accommodates the many sides of the topic but arrives at a clear point of view: Vaccinate.

- Kirkus, starred review

[A] far-reaching and unusual investigation into immunity... Artfully mixing motherhood, myth, maladies, and metaphors into her presentation, Biss transcends medical science and trepidation.

- Booklist, starred review

As Eula Biss makes clear in this well-written journey through history, medicine, and her own experience as a mother, one parent's decision to vaccinate a child comes from the same source as another parent's not to. We are all afraid. Biss is a candid, original, and unfailingly smart guide through these thorny thickets.

- Anne Fadiman

Imagine Eula Biss as herself a vaccine against vague and incoherent thinking, as a booster to the acuity of your thought, as a thermometer taking the temperature of our ideas about purity, contagion, individuality, and community. This book is a magnificent piece of research and of writing... And it has vampires in it.

- Rebecca Solnit

I can't think of an American writer at work today who matches Eula Biss's combination of lyrical precision, exhaustive research, timely provocation, and fiercely examined conscience. Like so many great nonfiction classics, On Immunity will teach, provoke, chafe, inspire, haunt, and likely change its many readers. Its central, difficult, and ecstatic premise - that 'we owe each other our bodies' - couldn't be more urgent, as the question of how we contend with this interdependence, this collectivity, is fundamental to our human present and future.

- Maggie Nelson

Eula Biss accomplishes two remarkable things in this book. She efficiently dismantles the wall between self-documentation and world-documentation. And she synthesizes a vast amount of information into the haunting and inescapable conclusion that 'We are ... continuous with everything here on earth. Including, and especially, each other.


- Sarah Manguso

The inexplicableness of our human minds has led us to move forward and backward and sometimes in circles, but once in a while a clear voice puts a momentary stop to that muddled movement - - not to interfere but to allow a pause for us to question, to reexamine the familiar, and to demystify the common belief. Eula Biss gives us that voice in this audacious book, and offers a thorough understanding of one of the most important experiences that we all share - - vaccination. -Yiyun Li


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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780992974749
Publication date: 18/02/2015
Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780992974749
Publication date: 18th February 2015
Author: Eula Biss
Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 208 pages
Genres: eBook Favourites, The Real World,
Categories: Literary essays,

About Eula Biss

Eula Biss is the author of The Balloonists and Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays, which received the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. Her essays have appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading and The Best Creative Nonfiction, as well as in the Believer and Harper's. Her writing has been supported by fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Howard Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Biss holds a BA from Hampshire College and an MFA in nonfictionwriting from the University of Iowa. She teaches at Northwestern University and lives ...

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