The Baltimore Sun

Thomas Quinn, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health and an infectious diseases specialist, on books that influenced his choice of profession:

"The Plague" / by Albert Camus / Penguin Classics / 256 pages/ $14.95

He writes from the perspective of a healer, whose occupation was to try and prevent disease.

"The Great Influenza" / by John M. Barry / Penguin Group / 546 pages / $29.95

Shows what a pandemic can really do. As we worry about avian influenza, this is a fantastic book that really provides a historical perspective on medical epidemics.

"Guns, Germs, and Steel" / by Jared Diamond / W.W. Norton and Co. / 512 pages / $24.95

A bit encyclopedic. I wouldn't recommend it for casual reading. A retrospective on the evolution of man and how it was shaped by environment, and how important environment is to us today.

"Polio: An American Story" / by David M. Oshinsky / Oxford University Press / 384 pages / $30

As we move forward in medicine today, we need to be cognizant of the lessons that can be learned from past epidemics.

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