The Vaccine Controversy: The History, Use, and Safety of Vaccinations
by Kurt Link, M.D.
Praeger Publishers, 2005, 196 pgs. Nonfiction
Vaccines save countless lives every year by preventing a multitude of dangerous diseases. In The Vaccine Controversy, Dr. Kurt Link explores the history and use of both the common and uncommon vaccines used in the United States and other parts of the world. The book begins with explanations of how the immune system works, how the different types of vaccines are made, and how vaccines trigger an immune response. He then discusses several disasters and near misses in the history of vaccines. A significant portion of the book takes an in-depth look at each vaccine and the disease it prevents. This book maintains relevancy despite the publishing date because much of the information is historical and the effects of the disease stay relatively the same over time.
This book was fascinating! I really liked how the author presented rather complex medical information in a way that was easy for someone without a medical background to understand. The second thing I appreciated most about this book was the depth with which it examined each disease. A study of the disease is a vital part of any research on vaccines, and this book did a wonderful job of keeping those two facets of the subject together. While the author states he is a strong supporter of vaccination programs, he didn’t shy away from the mishaps and disasters that have occurred because of vaccines. He does a good job of keeping an informative tone without inserting lots of opinions. Despite the title, the controversies surrounding vaccinations were only lightly discussed. This book could use an updated edition, but overall I found it to be highly informative, and would recommend it to anyone looking to expand their understanding of vaccines and the diseases they are meant to prevent.