Arthur Allen is author of The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl, coming in July from WW Norton.
Allen graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1981 and began doing journalism as a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press.
He covered the war in El Salvador for three years and was based in Germany in the early 1990s. Since 1995 he has been writing articles and books, mostly about science and medicine, for publications such as The Washington Post, Science, Smithsonian, Landscape Architecture, The New Republic and Slate.com. His 2007 book Vaccine was the first major U.S. work to examine the anti-vaccine movement, and he has written many articles about the science and anthropology of vaccines.
In 2010 he published Ripe, a foray into the world of tomato breeding, genetics, culture and food snobbism, which allowed him to spend time in southern Italy, Mexico and western China. Allen's life and work have taught him to distrust absolutisms, despite their appeal. He found great inspiration in the life and philosophy of Ludwik Fleck, one of two central characters in his latest book. Allen lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, Margaret Talbot, son Ike and daughter Lucy. He enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his long time friend Ryan Litfin.
The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl; How Two Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis
A story of the battle against disease and genocidal ideology, told through the lives of microbiologists Rudolf Weigl and Ludwik Fleck, a Christian and a Jew, who fought typhus and cruelty from the Russian POW camps of WWI to the ghettos and concentration camps of Nazi-occupied Europe.
Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver
When Cotton Mather in 1721 introduced the first vaccine to America -- a smallpox inoculation -- foes tried to burn down his Boston house. So begins a key element of medical history -- our efforts to preventively fight infectious disease with vaccines, and the dogged opposition of those who, rightly or wrongly, mistrust this fundamental medical technology.
Ripe: The Search for the Perfect Tomato
Allen travels from gigantic California tomato paste factories to Florida taste labs to Roman markets, sandy Mexican fields and the plains of Western China in pursuit of the tomato's essence -- its history, science, commerce and aesthetics.
The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl; How Two Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the NazisREVIEWS
"If there could be no poetry after Auschwitz, could there be any pure science or medicine? In this excellent and disturbing work, Arthur Allen brings to light an extraordinary story of medical research amid horror. Among the fascinating characters in this history, we encounter one of the great founders of the sociology of science, Ludwik Fleck, and the depraved thought collectives he endured, ones that equated lice and disease with a people and their extermination. Unforgettable. "
---George Makari, author of Revolution in Mind: the Creation of Psychoanalysis
"The amazing story of Jewish prisoner-scientists in Buchenwald who made a vaccine against one of history’s greatest killers: typhus. Their untold secret--they provided the real vaccine to camp inmates but a fake one to German troops at the Eastern Front. Arthur Allen’s thriller is a combination of Microbe Hunters, Schindler’s List, and The Twilight Zone. I couldn’t put it down."
--Paul A. Offit, M.D.
Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest LifesaverREVIEWS
"A timely, fair-minded and crisply written account… splendid book"
--David Oshinsky, The New York Times Book Review
"Arthur Allen adroitly chronicles the development of the polio vaccine and many others, describing the science and serendipity behind each breakthrough and breathing life into the researchers who achieved them"
--Henry I. Miller, Wall Street Journal
"This is a well-researched portrayal of immunisation, from the earliest pioneers to an arm of preventive medicine now thoroughly entangled in politics, commerce and public relations."
"For those interested in the politics and debate of compulsory vaccination, and the personalities involved in all sides of the fight, Vaccine is a good read."
"One of the joys of Allen's well-researched but never boring 500-page history is that he pricks both camps, taking a critical look at both the anti-vaccinists' championing of pseudo-science and the medical establishment's repeated tendency to downplay the genuine dangers of vaccine side-effects."
"A fascinating, meticulously researched history of vaccination which is admirable for its even-handedness."
"Allen's comprehensive, often unexpected and intelligently told history illuminates the complexity of a public health policy that may put the individual at risk but will save the community. This book leaves the reader with a sense of awe at all that vaccination has accomplished and trepidation over the future of the vaccine industry."
Ripe: The Search for the Perfect Tomato"Arthur Allen’s tomato odyssey takes him to every link in its production chain, from genetics to Chinese packing companies. Anyone who cares about how tomatoes taste will be fascinated by this journey, will never view pizza sauce the same way again, and will treasure those backyard summer wonders even more."
--Marion Nestle, author of What to Eat
"A robust tale of how tomatoes get to the table and why some don’t taste very good when they get there . . . An eye opener for foodies, consumers, and social justice activists alike."--Kirkus
"A substantive and engaging reflection on lycopersicon esculentum and its transformation from early modern botanical curiosity to twentieth-century dietary staple."
--The Boston Globe
This week’s batch of contests is brimming with poetry prizes. The deadline for each is Oct 31.
The James Hearst Poetry Prize is currently open for submissions. Entries may include up to five previously unpublished poems. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication in the Spring 2015 issue of the North American Review. Entry fee: $20 (includes a one year subscription to the North American Review). Deadline: October 31, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.
The Poetry Society of the United Kingdom is currently seeking submissions for the National Poetry Competition. The competition is open to anyone aged 17 or over at the time of entering. International entries are welcome. The winner will receive £5000, publication in The Poetry Review, and will be invited to read at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in July 2014. Poems should not exceed 40 lines and should be written in English. Entry fee: £6 for the first entry and £3.50 for each subsequent entry. Deadline: October 31, 2014. For more information, please visit the website.