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The Coming Plague


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About the Author

Laurie Garrett is a former senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism in 1996 for a series of works published in Newsday, and has also been awarded the Polk and Peabody Prizes. She is the author of The Coming Plague, Betrayal of Trust, and Ebola: Story of an Outbreak.


Medical journalist Garrett presents a history of epidemiology in a format that is educational, moving, and terrifying. She skillfully illustrates the role of ecology, politics, and economics in worldwide healthcare and uses numerous examples to emphasize the need for a global perspective in the management of disease. Yellow fever, malaria, ebola, lassa fever, AIDS, legionnaires' disease, toxic shock syndrome-she discusses in depth the search for the causes of these and many other diseases. The tranquil days following the discovery of antibiotics are gone as drug-resistant strains of disease-causing organisms continue to reappear. The message is clear: we must drop our complacency and learn from past epidemics or face the consequences. An extremely readable style and exhaustive notes make this fascinating reading for general readers and scholars alike. Highly recommended. [See also Richard Preston's The Hot Zone, LJ 8/94.-Ed]-Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib.

Documenting the plausible threat of major new worldwide epidemics, as well as eruptions of recently discovered diseases, Garrett's gripping and frightening report sounds a wake-up call to the planet. Wars, sexual promiscuity, inept public-health efforts and development schemes that disrupt ecosystems are some of the factors she says contribute to the alarmingly rapid mutation of viruses, the pandemics sweeping through the animal world, and the spread of human diseases to new areas. Health and science writer for New York Newsday, Garrett discusses the tremendous increase in AIDS and HIV infection across Asia, outbreaks of the incredibly lethal Ebola virus in Africa, and the spread of diseases via human technologies (such as tampons contributing to toxic shock syndrome). Her first-rate investigation concludes with a call for a global early warning system to rapidly detect new diseases and drug-resistant strains. BOMC, QPB and Natural Science Book Club selections.

"A frightening vision of the future and a deeply unsettling one...a sober, scary book that not only limns the dangers posed by emerging diseases but also raises serious questions about two centuries worth of Enlightenment beliefs in science and technology and progress." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times "Like her role model Rachel Carson, whose 1962 Silent Spring woke up society to environmental poisoning, Garrett aims to dispel social and political complacency about the threat of old, new, and yet-unknown microbial catastrophes in a golbal ecology that links Bujumbura, Bangkok, and Boston more closely than anyone appreciates." Richard A. Knox, The Boston Globe "Garrett has done a brilliant job of putting scientific work into layman's language, and the scariness of medical melodramas is offset by the excitement of scientific detection." --The New Yorker "The book is ambitious, but it succeeds...[its] scope is encyclopedic, its mass of detail startling." --The Economist "Garrett brilliantly develops her theme that repidly increasing dangers are being ignored. Her investigations have taken over a decade to complete, and her findings are meticulously discussed and distilled." -- Richard Horton, The New York Review of Books "Encyclopedic in detail, missionary in zeal, and disturbing in its message...The Coming Plague makes fascinating if troubling reading. It is an important contribution to our awareness of human ecology and the fragility of the relative biological well-being that many of us enjoy. Garrett has mastered an extraordinary amount of detail about the pathology, epidemiology, and human events surrounding dozens of complex diseases. She writes engagingly, carrying her themes as well as the reader's interest from outbreak to outbreak. --The Los Angeles Times Book Review "Absorbing...the insights into the personalities and the stories behind new infectious diseases are fascinating. I have the greatest admiration for Laurie Garrett." --Abraham Verghese, M.D., author of In the Heartland: A Doctor's Story of a Town and Its People in the Age of AIDS "A masterpiece of reporting and writing, The Coming Plague is the best and most thorough book on the terrifying emergence of new plagues. The level of detail is amazing, with fascinating portraits of the so-called 'disease cowboys, ' the doctors and scientists who fight infectious diseases on the front lines. The Coming Plague is a must read for anyone interested in the biological fate of the human species." --Richard Preston, New York Times-bestselling author of The Hot Zone

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