The Tyee has published my article Why Pandemics Are Our Own Damn Fault. Excerpt:
An American science journalist, Sonia Shah has published earlier books on malaria and the testing of pharmaceuticals in poor countries. She must have understood the challenge of her new book, Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, From Cholera to Ebola and Beyond, and what it would take to organize a vast body of research -- not only that, but to make that research understandable to a lay audience.
She has succeeded brilliantly. On page one, she describes her flight from Haiti to Florida, delayed because another passenger had come down with cholera just as he took his seat on the plane. By page two, I knew I was in good hands and I was not disappointed by the time I reached the extensive documentation. This is the best single book I have yet read about the disease threats we all face in the 21st century.
I say this as a blogger who since 2005 has posted over 45,000 times about disease outbreaks and the political and scientific responses to them. If nothing else, the experience has taught me that organizing information about diseases is a very tough job. That may be why so many outbreaks seem to come out of nowhere -- we have no idea of their backstory.
Shah builds her book around the backstory of a single disease: cholera. But in explaining it, she takes us on a superbly guided tour of many other diseases. Each may have its own symptoms but all, she argues, rely on humans to spread them.