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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.

©1996 Christopher Wills (P)1997 Recorded Books, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Sean
  • BELVEDERE TIBURON, CA, United States
  • 12-18-11

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary
  • WESTERLO, NY, United States
  • 11-26-12

widened my vew of the world

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?

no

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

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  • deborah
  • Palm Coast, FL, United States
  • 12-12-11

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

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • United States
  • 08-22-16

Out of date and more informative for it.

I recommend this book for moderately informed readers who will benefit from the history of genetics written about twenty years ago and predictions made at the same time.

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Good historical perspective in disease

Good listen for for some historical references of plagues. Could use a little update. Overall well done.