I love these types of books that provide a history of a specific disease. In this case, the disease is malaria, meaning "bad air." Yes, that's what the folks in India and Africa would refer to it as. Who could or would believe that a one-celled creature with a terribly complex life-cycle is responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths worldwide? This story of malaria is elegantly and gently told by Gordon Harrison, and answers questions along the way of what was really going on, who was trying to figure it out, and much, much more.
Like many challenges in science and life in general, what one perceives to be the problem is rarely the way it turns out to be. Just a couple of minor roadblocks that would prove to be huge include (1) that these tiny complex creatures--apicomplexa--only parasitize one genus of mosquito; so right there, that narrows down the guilty parties. And (2) even within that genus, it is only the female of those flying vectors that takes the blood of vertebrates, allowing the "malaria" to access their primary host via the mosquito's saliva. Quite a fascinating "disease" when you think about it. There's no escaping the fact that we are part of the hostilities known as nature. Highly recommended... - lc