Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus
by David Quammen
W. W. Norton & Company, New York, NY, USA, 2014; 128 pp; pb $11.15
Almost as if from nowhere, the Ebola virus outbreak has become one of the most-talked about diseases in recent times. The current outbreak has so far led to more than 5,500 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
Statistics provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the situation may become more disastrous in the coming months – a worst case scenario could see more than 1.4 million people affected by early 2015.
Author and science writer David Quammen explores the epidemic and the new fears that have arisen around the virus in his latest book, Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus. With a jittery global audience watching the precarious story unfold in the three most-affected West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, panic levels are rising.
Mr. Quammen traces the story of the categorically zoonotic disease. Zoonotic disease, he explains, is an animal infection that can be transmitted to humans. He sheds light on how the virus emerged close to 50 years ago in the forests of Congo and how it has affected, is affecting and could affect the world at large.
The book provides answers to questions such as what brings about a mysterious pandemic such as Ebola after years of dormancy in a mere matter of months and how such a lethal disease is so volatile and elusive.
Many medically oriented books are often difficult to read because of the heavy use of jargon. But Mr. Quammen’s 128-page book stands out for its easy-to-read tone. It also has a gripping presentation of the mysteries behind the virus which the author calls ‘hellaciously destructive’ and the reasons it is causing so much panic on a global scale.
AIDS, Politics, and Music in South Africa (The International African Library) by Fraser G. McNeill (Cambridge University Press, New York City, USA; 208pp; pb $29.99)
Contemporary Africa: Challenges and Opportunities (African Histories and Modernities) by Toyin Falola and Emmanuel M. Mbah (Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire, UK; 280pp; hb $100)
Diasporas, Development and Peace-making in the Horn of Africa (Africa Now) by Petri Hautaniemi and Liisa Laakso (Zed Books, London, UK; 240pp; pb $34.95)
Ethnic Diversity and Economic Instability in Africa: Interdisciplinary Perspectives by Hiroyuki Hino, John Lonsdale, Gustav Ranis and Frances Stewart (Cambridge University Press, New York City, USA; 354pp; pb $36.99)
From Apartheid to Democracy: Deliberating Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa (Rhetoric and Democratic Deliberation) by Katherine Elizabeth Mack (Penn State University Press, Abington, USA; 160pp; hb $64.95)
Making Modern Girls: A History of Girlhood, Labour, and Social Development in Colonial Lagos (New African Histories) by Abosede A. George (Ohio University Press, Athens, USA; 296pp; pb $32.95)
Race, Nation, and Citizenship in Post-Colonial Africa: The Case of Tanzania (Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics) by Ronald Aminzade (Cambridge University Press, New York City, USA; 446pp; pb $32.99)
Reach Out Africa: Studies in Community Empowerment, Sustainable Development, and Cross-Cultural Engagement by Dorothy H. Ettling and Kevin B. Vichcales (Archway Publishing, Bloomington, USA; 343pp; pb $21.99)
Zambia: Building Prosperity from Resource Wealth (Africa: Policies for Prosperity) by Christopher Adam, Paul Collier and Michael Gondwe (OUP Oxford, Oxford, UK; 448 pp; $110.00)
Africa39: New Writing from Africa south of the Sahara by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey and Wole Soyinka (Bloomsbury, New York City, USA; 384 pp; pb $17.00)
Incentives and Agriculture in East Africa by Mats Lundahl (Routledge, London, UK; 238pp; hb $130.00)
Building Colonialism: Archaeology and Urban Space in East Africa (Debates in Archaeology) by Daniel T. Rhodes (Bloomsbury Academic, New York City, USA; 192 pp; hb $78.00)
Historical Archaeology in South Africa: Material Culture of the Dutch East India Company at the Cape by Carmel Schrire (Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, USA; 288 pp; hb $89.00)
Professional Social Work in East Africa. Towards Social Development, Poverty Reduction and Gender Equality by Helmut Spitzer, Janestic M. Twikirize and Gidraph G. Wairire (Fountain Publishers, Kampala, Uganda; 418 pp; pb $39.95)
Routledge Library Editions: The Economy of the Middle East: North Africa (RLE Economy of the Middle East): Contemporary Politics and Economic Development by Allan Findlay and Richard I Lawless (Routledge, New York City, USA; 302 pp; hb $120.00)
The African Union’s Africa: New Pan-African Initiatives in Global Governance (Ruth Simms Hamilton African Diaspora) by Rita Kiki Edozie and Keith Gottschalk (Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, USA; 314pp; pb $29.95)
Sovereignty and Struggle: Africa and Africans in the Era of the Cold War, 1945-1994 (African World Histories) by Jonathan T. Reynolds (Oxford University Press, New York City, USA; 152 pp; pb $16.95)
The Emerging Middle Class in Africa by Mthuli Ncube and Charles Leyeka Lufumpa (Routeledge, New York, USA; 240; pb $50.95)
The History of Africa: The Quest for Eternal Harmony by Molefi Kete Asante (Routledge, New York City, USA, 418 pp; pb $49.95)