My interest in this book was mostly from a scientific perspective, rather than the historical, but it seems that there weren’t many scientific takeaways from this epidemic — or at least, this book isn’t interested in discussing them, though it briefly mentions that there were scientists and doctors in Memphis during the outbreak who tried to get what information they could.
Fever Season is more a historical chronicle, an attempt to draw together eye-witness accounts and historical events and make a record of the suffering and death the city suffered, with some nods to how that later influenced Memphis’ growth as a city. Keith writes with quiet sympathy for the major players, identifying the people who stayed, who did their best to combat the suffering. The discussion of the nurse Kezia DePelchin in particular is very sympathetic, showing her sadness, the ways she suffered as an onlooker.
It’s a fairly dry narrative, all the same, and it assumes at least some pre-existing knowledge about Memphis and the political situation in the US in that period. Nothing a bit of Googling couldn’t teach me, but that and the dryness made it heavy going in some ways.