Leprosy is not a fatal disease, neither is it highly infectious. It is a chronic illness caused by bacterium and communicable only to people with a genetic susceptibility, less than 5% of the population. This is a 150 year history of people segregated to a remote shore in the Hawaiian Islands after they became stricken with the painful and destructive disease.
In the bestselling tradition of In the Heart of the Sea, The Colony, "an impressively researched" (Rocky Mountain News) account of the history of America's only leper colony located on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, is "an utterly engrossing look at a heartbreaking chapter" (Booklist) in American history and a moving tale of the extraordinary people who endured it. Beginning in 1866 and continuing for over a century, more than eight thousand people suspected of having leprosy were forcibly exiled to the Hawaiian island of Molokai -- the longest and deadliest instance of medical segregation in American history. Torn from their homes and families, these men, women, and children were loaded into shipboard cattle stalls and abandoned in a lawless place where brutality held sway. Many did not have leprosy, and many who did were not contagious, yet all were ensnared in a shared nightmare. Here, for the first time, John Tayman reveals the complete history of the Molokai settlement and its unforgettable inhabitants. It's an epic of ruthless manhunts, thrilling escapes, bizarre medical experiments, and tragic, irreversible error. Carefully researched and masterfully told, The Colony is a searing tale of individual bravery and extraordinary survival, and stands as a testament to the power of faith, compassion, and the human spirit.