Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds: Ebola and the Ravages of History

Farrar. Nov. 2020. 688p. ISBN 9780374234324. $35. HEALTH
In his latest work, Farmer (cofounder, chief strategist, Partners in Health; Harvard Medical Sch.; Reimagining Global Health) focuses on Ebola but also has relevant lessons for life during COVID-19. Blending medical history and anthropology, this book brings newfound awareness to the interconnectedness of West Africa, Europe, and the United States throughout the centuries as each region navigates global health challenges, and shows how the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to affect the social underpinnings of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea today. The book spans three sections: an overview of Ebola and its appearance in West Africa, a history of West Africa and why it is a clinical desert, and a section on understanding how viruses work and what it takes to stop the spread. Throughout, readers are immersed in Farmer’s own recollections of his time working in West Africa and will be moved by the interwoven recollections of Ebola survivors along with the stories of those who died from the disease.
VERDICT Recommended to all interested in a moving, impassioned overview of the economic and social forces of colonialism and racism that have directly impacted public health historically, during the 2014 Ebola epidemic, and today, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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