Jonathan Pegg
Literary Agency

The Greatest Story Never Told


Frank Ryan TuberculosisTuberculosis is the greatest infectious killer in history. In this century and the previous one, it was responsible for an estimated thousand million deaths. The discovery of the cure changed history - yet, incredibly, that story has never previously been told.

Half way through the twentieth century, few people world-wide, whether doctors or the ordinary man or woman, believed that such a cure would ever be possible. Only a tiny band of unlikely heroes, scattered in different countries, believed they could find it. Not one of them was a tuberculosis expert. Half of them were not even medically qualified. This is their story.

For Dr. Frank Ryan, who for many years travelled world-wide gathering together the intimate details of their lives, the greatest shock was awaiting him in New York, when he discovered that in a deadly alliance with AIDS, tuberculosis was once again threatening both the developed and developing world.

Sadly, the UK, and London in particular, now finds itself in a similar position to that of the US and New York in 1990, making this book increasingly relevant to our society today.

UK publisher: Swift Publishers Ltd / Hardcover 1992
US Publisher: Little Brown, 1993 (Published in the USA as The Forgotten Plague)
446 pages


'An important book... (judged non-fiction book of the year).'
The New York Times

'As exciting as a detective novel... Dr Ryan tells an important and moving story. His book should be compulsive reading for those who ignorantly or dishonestly deny the power of science to contribute to human welfare.'
Anthony Daniels, The Sunday Telegraph

'…a superbly documented, dramatic and alarming history of the ancient plague'
Publishers Weekly

'A compelling picture of the process of scientific research as well as a troubling look at an emerging public health crisis, Ryan's book is recommended for all libraries.' 
Kathy Arsenault, Univ. of South Florida in the Library Journal

'A lively account of how scientists worked for years to tame tuberculosis--only to find the disease rebounding with increased virulence as drug-resistant strains developed and as the emergence of the AIDS virus triggered a surge in deadly TB infections.' 
Kirkus Reviews


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Frank Ryan

Frank Ryan

Frank Ryan