Laurie Garrett, science and health writer, winner of the Pulitzer, Polk, and Peabody Prizes, is the author of The Coming Plague and Betrayal of Trust.
Medical journalist Garrett presents a history of epidemiology in a format that is educational, moving, and terrifying. She skillfully illustrates the role of ecology, politics, and economics in worldwide healthcare and uses numerous examples to emphasize the need for a global perspective in the management of disease. Yellow fever, malaria, ebola, lassa fever, AIDS, legionnaires' disease, toxic shock syndrome-she discusses in depth the search for the causes of these and many other diseases. The tranquil days following the discovery of antibiotics are gone as drug-resistant strains of disease-causing organisms continue to reappear. The message is clear: we must drop our complacency and learn from past epidemics or face the consequences. An extremely readable style and exhaustive notes make this fascinating reading for general readers and scholars alike. Highly recommended. [See also Richard Preston's The Hot Zone, LJ 8/94.-Ed]-Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib.
Documenting the plausible threat of major new worldwide epidemics, as well as eruptions of recently discovered diseases, Garrett's gripping and frightening report sounds a wake-up call to the planet. Wars, sexual promiscuity, inept public-health efforts and development schemes that disrupt ecosystems are some of the factors she says contribute to the alarmingly rapid mutation of viruses, the pandemics sweeping through the animal world, and the spread of human diseases to new areas. Health and science writer for New York Newsday, Garrett discusses the tremendous increase in AIDS and HIV infection across Asia, outbreaks of the incredibly lethal Ebola virus in Africa, and the spread of diseases via human technologies (such as tampons contributing to toxic shock syndrome). Her first-rate investigation concludes with a call for a global early warning system to rapidly detect new diseases and drug-resistant strains. BOMC, QPB and Natural Science Book Club selections.