Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds

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In Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds,, Paul Farmer almost singlehandedly rescues Ebola for history. His astounding account of the disease, focusing on the 2014 epidemic in northern West Africa, the largest recorded epidemic of the disease, is published as Covid steals the headlines.

Farmer, a physician and anthropologist based in Boston, is packing his case frequently to travel and report on the world’s health trouble spots. He became well-known for his unsparing narrative of post-earthquake Haiti.

The epidemic’s affected countries comprise Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Despite unlike backgrounds and contemporary situations, the three countries are not easy to differentiate by readers unfamiliar with the region. Urbanization is mainly coastal; the interiors are crossed by multiple rivers, and swathes of land with border areas often casual, invite the spread of the disease.

Farmer insists adequate medical care, unavailable for both patients and caring staff, would have stymied the epidemic and saved thousands of lives. Instead, the geography, poverty, and warfare fostered by ‘swollen military aid,’ ethnicity, and tribalism enabled Ebola to become rampant.

Television newscasts sometimes warn a report ‘may be graphic.’ In Farmer’s account, these words would constitute an understatement. The book is illustrated with photographs and maps.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 704 pages
Publisher Picador Paper
Publish Date 16-Nov-2021
ISBN 9781250800237
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue February 2022
Category Science & Nature