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The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance

Customer Reviews:

Microbes are no fun!

By Chad Bagley "Chad" - May 18, 2000

I read this book two years ago and thought it was a great read. I just finished reading it again and have to say that I liked it even more the second time around. I should warn you however, that if you're looking for lighthearted summer reading that'll lull you into complacency and make you feel all warm and fuzzy about the world- stick to Oprah's book list. The only warm fuzzies you'll find in this very informative and well-written book are the microbes and viruses that make up the subject matter. Laurie Garrett has done a masterful job of chronicling the spread of infectious diseases over the last 50 years. The book is divided into sections that give the history of the rise (and in one or two cases- the fall) of the major pandemics of this century. The chapter on AIDS is worth the price of the book alone and should be required reading for political science students. It's the perfect case study on how apathy, intolerance, ignorance and political infighting foster the... read more

Critically Important Book On Emerging Public Health Issues

By Barron Laycock "Labradorman" - June 12, 2000

With recent news blurbs concerning the possible threat from strains of the West Nile virus in the northeastern part of the country this summer, the urgent importance of this book is quietly being reinforced. This important effort by journalist Laurie Garrett is a whopper; a long, carefully documented and quite readable text giving an overview of the worldwide efforts of the "insect fighters' at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) of the U.S. Public Health Service and other agencies ranging from the U.N to state, university and local agencies to combat a panoply of both new biological agents like HIV, Ebola, and the West Nile virus as well as new and much more virulent and drug-resistant strains of old enemies like tuberculosis, bubonic plague, a number of venereal diseases, and complex new public health concerns like Toxic Shock Syndrome. Ms Garrett's highly detailed and exhaustively documented thesis, written while on a graduate fellowship at Harvard, is both... read more

Advantage: Microbe

By E. A. Lovitt "starmoth" - February 10, 2001

"The Coming Plague" is 620 pages of densely-packed text on humanity's war against its deadliest enemies. Throughout the twentieth century and into the new millenium, we've given our microscopic enemies glorious new opportunities to exploit us, whether it be through war, slash-and-burn agriculture, or stagnant water in an air-conditioning system. Laurie Garrett has written a fascinating and frightening account of some of the battles we almost won (measles and polio) and some where we appear to be in full retreat (AIDS, drug-resistant tuberculosis). Her book is especially compulsive reading when she describes the individual skirmishes in the war, e.g. a journey into the African bush to identify and treat a disease that was killing 80% of its victims, or the discovery that cholera vibrio could live inside of algae and didn't require person-to-person transmission. Even if you live in the middle of the Canadian tundra and have sworn off eating mollusks for the rest of your... read more

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