Friday, December 12, 2014

"The Coming Plague" -- Book Review

The Coming Plague by Laurie Garrett was a long, but fascinating read. In the book, Garret goes over the infectious diseases which have played a role in shaping the history of the last 50 or so years. The book is extremely well written; it provides enough scientific evidence to teach a great deal about the viruses she covers to the reader, yet keeps her explanations simple enough such that a good number of readers will still be able to follow along. The Coming Plague sits at a nice middle ground of readability. 

In the book, Garrett describes nature of different outbreaks of viruses including HIV, Hantavirus, and Ebola and puts them in greater context. She talks about different factors and human practices that have led to the emergence of infectious diseases, and illustrates the great impact they’ve had on the way we’ve viewed microbes over the course of history. Throughout the book, Garrett brings attention to problems in healthcare in both the United States and in a global context that were made glaringly apparent in the wake of disease outbreaks. 

The Coming Plague masterfully shows how humans and microbes have been in an ongoing battle to overcome the other for as long as we can remember. The way in which Garrett addresses this theme is humbling and thought-provoking. Two thumbs up!

-             -   Eddie Irvine

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