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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 However, it is too meandering and out of date to serve as a good primer on human infectious disease.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Yellow Fever Black Goddess again? Why?
defanetly! I pick up new facts and info every time i lisen. this is defanetly a 7 or 8 timer.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Yellow Fever Black Goddess?
the descriptions of ther multiple stranes of each sicknes
Have you listened to any of Richard Davidson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
yes the first time. the second in sections so i could think about what was sead.
Any additional comments?
the authors reactions to the veres culchers and the people fighting plegs we in the usa seldem think of
1 of 1 people found this review helpful