Yellow Fever Black Goddess

  • by Christopher Wills
  • Narrated by Richard Davidson
  • 12 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In Yellow Fever Black Goddess, popular author and biology professor, Christopher Wills, brings the latest scientific developments to the page in entertaining, dramatic form. Through meticulous yet riveting research, he pens a vivid account of deadly microbes struggling for survival in hostile hosts. Beginning with ancient illnesses like the Black Death and syphilis, Christopher Wills explores how these devastating diseases have changed their method of attack through the years. And against the backdrop of more contemporary threats—the spread of AIDS and deadly outbreaks of the Ebola virus—he attempts to answer the compelling question: Will dangerous new plagues sweep the world with death and disfigurement? A remarkable book, Yellow Fever Black Goddess examines headline-making maladies with a balanced approach that respects their powers, yet has faith in the victory of scientific research. Veteran narrator Richard M. Davidson holds listeners spellbound with his thought-provoking rendition.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Interesting but needs updating

This is an interesting reflection on the arms race between humans and our infectious diseases. Thinking about how we influence their evolution changes the perspective in a refreshing way. However, the book is not well organized and badly needs updating (it was written in 1995).

He mostly discusses bubonic plague, malaria, syphilis and HIV. He uses them as archetypes of pathogens. Each organism has had a very different evolutionary history. He uses the details of those histories to draw conclusions about how our immune system evolved and how our pestilence has evolved alongside of us. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a unifying theme or hypothesis that the author wants to present. This creates a patchwork of interesting reflections that never really crystalizes into an "Oh, I get it!" moment.

The last third of the book talks about the state of HIV in 1995 and so much has changed since then that there is not much useful information (for example, he refers to it as a "universally fatal infection". He also raves about how useful malaria vaccines will be--none of which have materialized in 15 years.

If you are interested in evolutionary biology or any of the particular diseases he focuses on, then the book could be worth reading. However, it is too meandering and out of date to serve as a good primer on human infectious disease.
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- Sean

Overly complicated and boring

Because the book covers nearly all epidemiology and infection diseases through human history, it's too spread out. There are too many biological references and not enough personal stories to be interesting for lay readers. It should be a book for academia, and scientitific or medical professionals
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- deborah

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-22-2011
  • Publisher: Recorded Books