Basic Books, 270 pages, $27.50
Edward Jenner invented a smallpox vaccine in 1776, and since then there have been outspoken anti-vaccine activists. It doesn’t seem to matter that immunization saves countless lives and dollars; some individuals are adamantly against vaccines and believe they cause more harm than good. In Deadly Choices, vaccine advocate and developer Paul Offit delves into the many facets of the anti-vaccine movement, from Andrew Wakefield to Jenny McCarthy to Dr. Bob’s alternative schedule. This fascinating exploration of the history of the vaccination conflict offers obscure surreal facts, for example the Raggedy Ann doll was designed to represent a child supposedly turned floppy by a smallpox vaccine. Offit also analyzes how misinformation and mistrust has caused children to suffer needlessly. And he celebrates the people who are working to make vaccines safe and a trusted part of a healthy community.