A timely book about history's first desperate efforts to conquer the spotted beast of smallpox. What is it like to be caught in the terror and chaos of a smallpox epidemic when you and those you love are unprotected? What is it like to get smallpox, or to watch your children battle the disease? The Speckled Monster tells the dramatic story-both historical and timely-of two parents who dared to fight back against the disease. After barely surviving the agony of smallpox themselves, they both flouted eighteenth-century European medical tradition by borrowing folk knowledge from African slaves and eastern women in frantic bids to protect their children. From their heroic struggles stem the modern science of immunology as well as the vaccinations that remain our only hope should the disease ever be unleashed again. Jennifer Lee Carrell transports readers back to the early eighteenth century to tell the tales of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Dr. Zabdiel Boylston: two iconoclastic figures who helped save the cities of London and Boston from the deadliest disease mankind has known.