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The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind…

The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years

by Sonia Shah

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Malaria seems to have two intriguing and opposing reputations among the average person. Some seem to think it is some relentless scourge terrorizing the people of Africa and others think it is some benign flu-like illness that is barely worth taking notice of. The reality is it is somewhere in between, not particularly deadly on a case-by-case basis but by sheer widespread infection manages to claim more lives than it ought to.

Sonia Shah's book is certainly informative, though it isn't always the most enamoring. I had a difficult time getting into it initially and I wasn't always inspired to keep reading after a chapter or section ended. I also found myself raising my eyebrow dubiously from time to time, for example towards the end she discounts a recent organizations statistics showing how successful their anti-Malaria campaign was by pointing out that Malaria numbers naturally fluctuate, so taking Malarial statistic from two distant years and comparing them to demonstrate how effective a campaign is wouldn't be accurate...despite the fact that she spent the entire book doing the very same thing herself.

Still, though she herself has made me skeptical of her own numbers, there is plenty of interesting history here. It's one of those books that I'm glad I read, it's informative and I definitely feel like I learned a lot about the subject...but I'm also glad I'm done with it and get to move on to something more engaging. I give it 3 stars and a shrug. ( )
  Ape | Jun 8, 2012 |
Nice overview of anemias. ( )
  pilarflores | Oct 15, 2010 |
I really love singular issue books. This is an in-depth look at malaria and how it has managed to elude complete eradication. This parasite is very adaptable and whenever we find a cure it finds a way to adapt and survive. It was a surprise to read that the incidence of malaria in the United States is as prevalent as it is. We have had waves of epidemics come and go over the years. Having traveled to many third world countries where malaria is a real possibility, I can understand the steps one must take to avoid this disease. Public apathy plays into the survival of this parasite since it is just taken for granted in a lot of countries and it is viewed as just another disease of the poor. ( )
  dickcraig | Sep 14, 2010 |
This fascinating look at malaria is one of the best popular science books that I've read this year. It's interesting, well-written, well-researched, and does an amazing job of synthesizing a very wide range of disciplines. ( )
  wanack | Aug 17, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374230013, Hardcover)

In recent years, malaria has emerged as a cause célèbre for voguish philanthropists. Bill Gates, Bono, and Laura Bush are only a few of the personalities who have lent their names—and opened their pocketbooks—in hopes of curing the disease. Still, in a time when every emergent disease inspires waves of panic, why aren’t we doing more to eradicate one of our oldest foes? And how does a parasitic disease that we’ve known how to prevent for more than a century still infect 500 million people every year, killing nearly 1 million of them?

In The Fever, the journalist Sonia Shah sets out to answer these questions, delivering a timely, inquisitive chronicle of the illness and its influence on human lives. Through the centuries, she finds, we’ve invested our hopes in a panoply of drugs and technologies, and invariably those hopes have been dashed. From the settling of the New World to the construction of the Panama Canal, through wars and the advances of the Industrial Revolution, Shah tracks malaria’s jagged ascent and the tragedies in its wake, revealing a parasite every bit as persistent as the insects that carry it. With distinguished prose and original reporting from Panama, Malawi, Cameroon, India, and elsewhere, The Fever captures the curiously fascinating, devastating history of this long-standing thorn in the side of humanity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:14 -0400)

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Traces the centuries-long battle to treat and prevent malaria in numerous regions of the world while revealing how hundreds of millions of people are infected annually in spite of available preventions.

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