The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years
In recent years, malaria has emerged as a cause cÃ©lÃbre for voguish philanthropists. Bill Gates, Bono, and Laura Bush are only a few of the personalities who have lent their namesâ€”and opened their pocketbooksâ€”in hopes of curing the disease. Still, in a time when every emergent disease inspires waves of panic, why arenâ€™t we doing more to eradicate one of our oldest
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My first gripe with the book is that, to me, the story seemed to be set up in a strange way. The author seems to have broken the book up into a short discussion of the parasite (Plasmodium species), a moderate length discussion on the host (humans, in this case) ...more
The Fever suffers from being too short. I trying to be too many things in 240 pages+footnotes: a cultu ...more
For me the book bogged down a bit in the middle as she reported battle after battle in wars over thousands of years where the outcome was determined by malaria. Once she made that point and moved to the science and politics of moder ...more
Sonia Shah performs a great balancing act in delivering the complexities of malarial science while keeping the storytelling brisk and riveting.
The long history of the disease also provides her with rich pickings and some great anecdotes like that of Oliver Cromwell.
He spurned one of the best and most effective treatments of the day, the ground-up bark of the cinchona tree, because it ...more
I have occassion to help diaganosis Malaria, in an east coast medical center. When a patient is diagnosed, it is usually someone who was originally from a malaria infested area who has been living in the US (legal or otherwise). He or she goes back for a visit; and as they had not used anti-malaral medicines in their youth, they see no reason to spend the money. And when they come back they are sick with fever. Before reading Shah's explaination of limited lo ...more
A very approachable history of malaria, one that integrates human behavior into the story more thoroughly than a more biology-oriented book would. Not that Shah skimps on the science; we do learn the basics of the parasite's life cycle, as well as the way it flourishes in only certain Anopheles vectors, which in turn are adapted to specific niches.
I think Shah makes a strong argument for her thesis; colonialism and imperialism were significantly impacted by the presence of malaria - con ...more
The author does an excellent job with the finicky details of the life cycle of the malaria plasmodium. She also, very interestingly, manages to both impress ...more
Also, one thing that bothered me but was small is that her footnotes don't seem to follow a standard style and don't follow a standard format throughout the book. She also cites references in other books that reference even another book. That is just poor research on th ...more
The author does an excellent job of writing in a way that makes what could be a dry and difficult work engaging and, in a way, entertaining, if that's the word for it.
If you have any interest in this ancient disease and its impact on human life I highly recommend this work!
The criticism of modern behaviour towards is mostly that we simplify some problems and ignore finding out if all the nets we give to people help anyone and measure improvement by number of nets given and ignore how the nets aren`t used correctly. The book biggest defect is that it writes about malaria as some scheming villain that no protozoan is. ...more
And you should. It has been a major factor in human civilization over the last million years and continuous to resist our efforts to eradicate or at least manage it. Beware, it may be coming to you.