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Publisher's Summary

In 2014, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea suffered the worst epidemic of Ebola in history. The brutal virus spread rapidly through a clinical desert, where basic health-care facilities were few and far between. Causing severe loss of life and economic disruption, the Ebola crisis was a major tragedy of modern medicine. But why did it happen, and what can we learn from it?

Paul Farmer, the internationally renowned doctor and anthropologist, experienced the Ebola outbreak firsthand - Partners in Health, the organization he founded, was among the international responders. 

In Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds, he offers the first substantive account of this frightening, fast-moving episode and its implications. In vibrant prose, he tells the harrowing stories of Ebola victims while showing why the medical response was slow and insufficient. Rebutting misleading claims about the origins of Ebola and why it spread so rapidly, he traces West Africa’s chronic health failures back to centuries of exploitation and injustice. Under formal colonial rule, disease containment was a priority, but care was not - and the region’s health-care woes worsened, with devastating consequences that Farmer traces up to the present.

©2020 Dreamscape Media, LLC (P)2020 Dreamscape Media, LLC

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CRITICAL LISTENING for 2020!

Paul Farmer's new book about global health injustice and inequality is helping me understand this crazy year of 2020. It adds to the ongoing reckoning with slavery since 1619 and what we're seeing in unequal risk for people to get and die from COVID-19. Reading this book makes me rethink my own complicity and benefits in a long-imbalanced global community and the importance of reparations.

I think Bryan Stevenson sums up exactly how I feel about this book: "Paul Farmer's devastating account of catastrophic disease and death created by unjust systems, structures, and abusive history is timely, urgent and terrifying. This moving and compelling book is a tragic but necessary journey guided by an extraordinary anthropologist, historian, teacher, writer, and doctor who has served the poor and disfavored for decades. He has much to teach us in these perilous times."

5 people found this helpful

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The Structural Violence of our times

Paul Farmer, as usual, delivers requisite information and prognoses of society brought to its knees by zoonotic viruses that care not about social status, nor social justice but spreads social violence and disparity in its wake. He speaks truth to power about the continued racialization and disparities that are present at all times and in all places in references to comparable care across the spectrum of social and structural violence. In reference to COVID-19, he states that "it may not be the great leveler but it has leapt across neatly defined social categories more nimbly than any blood-borne virus could." He reiterates that both Ebola and COVID-19 are socially determined diseases, dependent largely upon the social status of the receiver. We need think only of the deferential care that our president received when he tested positive compared to that which we can expect to receive should we be unfortunate enough to experience its ravages.

4 people found this helpful

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  • 01-19-21

A must read of public health wisdom

I have read many of Paul Farmer’s books after becoming fascinated by this doctor from Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains who would cure the world. But this book does such a phenomenal job in describing the anthropology of west Africa that universities could use the middle chapters as supplemental text for masters programs studying African history.
It is not dry medical reading, it is a legitimate page turner and exposes so many truths that need to be said. The title is about Ebola and within that gruesome topic, myths and untruths are dispelled. An epilogue on coronavirus is included, written April 10, 2020. But throughout the book, there is also an undercurrent of a defense of Tony Fauci by someone who has been his colleague and friend for many many years, long before Fauci was a household name. It destroys the untruths being told by far too many non experts and even government representatives saying there is something sinister about Fauci. Makes you want to shake them and say, how about you get to know the guy and if not at least learn his history before popping off.
Paul is a genius. But I’ve read enough to also know that Paul and Fauci are the best of us. They are true medical heroes. They care deeply about fellow humans, enough to risk their lives and reputations to try to heal them. This is loving your neighbor. Put this book in your head. I dare say you will find both Farmer and Fauci in your heart.

1 person found this helpful