OVERRIDE

The Fever

How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years

Sonia Shah

Sarah Crichton Books

In recent years, malaria has emerged as a cause célèbre for voguish philanthropists. Bill Gates, Bono, and Laura Bush are only a few of the personalities who have lent their names—and opened their pocketbooks—in hopes of curing the disease. Still, in a time when every emergent disease inspires waves of panic, why aren’t we doing more to eradicate one of our oldest foes? And how does a parasitic disease that we’ve known how to prevent for more than a century still infect 500 million people every year, killing nearly 1 million of them?

In The Fever, the journalist Sonia Shah sets out to answer these questions, delivering a timely, inquisitive chronicle of the illness and its influence on human lives. Through the centuries, she finds, we’ve invested our hopes in a panoply of drugs and technologies, and invariably those hopes have been dashed. From the settling of the New World to the construction of the Panama Canal, through wars and the advances of the Industrial Revolution, Shah tracks malaria’s jagged ascent and the tragedies in its wake, revealing a parasite every bit as persistent as the insects that carry it. With distinguished prose and original reporting from Panama, Malawi, Cameroon, India, and elsewhere, The Fever captures the curiously fascinating, devastating history of this long-standing thorn in the side of humanity.


In recent years, malaria has emerged as a cause célèbre for voguish philanthropists. Bill Gates, Bono, and Laura Bush are only a few of the personalities who have lent their names—and opened their pocketbooks—in hopes of curing the disease. Still, in a time when every emergent disease inspires waves of panic, why aren’t we doing more to eradicate one of our oldest foes? And how does a parasitic disease that we’ve known how to prevent for more than a century still infect 500 million people every year, killing nearly 1 million of them?

In The Fever, the journalist Sonia Shah sets out to answer these questions, delivering a timely, inquisitive chronicle of the illness and its influence on human lives. Through the centuries, she finds, we’ve invested our hopes in a panoply of drugs and technologies, and invariably those hopes have been dashed. From the settling of the New World to the construction of the Panama Canal, through wars and the advances of the Industrial Revolution, Shah tracks malaria’s jagged ascent and the tragedies in its wake, revealing a parasite every bit as persistent as the insects that carry it. With distinguished prose and original reporting from Panama, Malawi, Cameroon, India, and elsewhere, The Fever captures the curiously fascinating, devastating history of this long-standing thorn in the side of humanity.


BOOK EXCERPTS

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1. MALARIA AT OUR DOORSTEP
The view through the mosquito net is blurry, but I can see the thick skin of grime on the leading edge of each blade of the ceiling fan as it slowly whirs around, keening alarmingly. This is how it was every summer when I visited my grandmother’s house in southern India. While my cousins snore on the bed mats laid across the floor beside me, glistening bodies bathed in the warm night breeze, my sleeping mat is ensconced in a hot, gauzy cage. The mosquitoes descend from the darkened corners of the whitewashed room and perch menacingly on the taut netting, ready
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REVIEWS

Praise for The Fever

The Fever is a vivid and compelling history with a message that’s entirely relevant today.” —Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change

“I didn’t just read The Fever—I inhaled it. It’s a fascinating book, elegantly written and superbly well researched: a poignant and important reminder of malaria’s relentless human toll.” —Nina Munk, author of Fools Rush In: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Unmaking of AOL Time Warner

“A thrilling detective story, spanning centuries, about our erratic pursuit of a villain still at large and still a threat to mankind. The Fever is rich in colorful detail and engagingly told. An astonishing array of characters has joined the fray, and you can only be amazed at the deviousness and skill of the archenemy.” —Malcolm Molyneux, Professor, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

“Extremely well-researched, The Fever provides a highly gripping account of one of mankind’s worst diseases. Highly recommended.” —Bart Knols, malariologist and managing director, MalariaWorld.org
The Fever is a vivid and compelling history with a message that’s entirely relevant today.” —Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change

“I didn’t just read The Fever—I inhaled it. It’s a fascinating book, elegantly written and superbly well researched: a poignant and important reminder of malaria’s relentless human toll.” —Nina Munk, author of Fools Rush In: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Unmaking of AOL Time Warner

“A thrilling detective story, spanning centuries, about our erratic pursuit of a villain still at large and still a threat to mankind. The Fever is rich in colorful detail and engagingly told. An astonishing array of characters has joined the fray, and you can only be amazed at the deviousness and skill of the archenemy.” —Malcolm Molyneux, Professor, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

“Extremely well-researched, The Fever provides a highly gripping account of one of mankind’s worst diseases. Highly recommended.” —Bart Knols, malariologist and managing director, MalariaWorld.org

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Sonia Shah

  • Sonia Shah is an investigative journalist and the critically acclaimed author of The Body Hunters: Testing New Drugs on the World’s Poorest Patients and Crude: The Story of Oil. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, New Scientist, The Nation, and elsewhere.

  • Sonia Shah ©Joyce Ravid
    Sonia Shah
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Available Formats and Book Details

The Fever

How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years

Sonia Shah

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