The Fever

How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years

Sonia Shah


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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 opened their pocketbooks in hopes of eradicating the scourge. How does a parasitic disease that we’ve known how to prevent for more than a century still infect three hundred million people every year, killing nearly one million of them? In The Fever, the journalist Sonia Shah sets out to answer this question, delivering a timely, inquisitive chronicle of the illness and its influence on human lives. The Fever captures the curiously fascinating, devastating history of this long-standing thorn in the side of humanity.

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Book Excerpts

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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

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Praise for The Fever

“Sonia Shah’s tour-de-force history of malaria will convince you that the real sound track to our collective fate [is] the syncopated whine-slap, whine-slap of man and mosquito duking it out over the aeons.” —The New York Times

“An often rollicking read . . . Shah has put together an engrossing cast of doctors, malariologists, and historical figures.” —Time

“An insightful book explores the human struggle with malaria not just from a scientific angle, which is cogently detailed without being overwhelming, but also from sociological and anthropological perspectives. . . . Shah is to be commended.” —The Boston Globe

“Brilliant.” —The Wall Street Journal

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,

Reviews from Goodreads


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

Buy the Book

Available Formats and Book Details

The Fever
How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years
Sonia Shah

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
June 2011
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312573010
ISBN10: 0312573014
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 320 pages, one illustration

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sarah Crichton Books
July 2010
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429981170
ISBN10: 1429981172
320 pages

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