"Encyclopedic in detail, missionary in zeal, and disturbing
in its message ... The Coming Plague makes fascinating if troubling
reading. It is an important contribution to our awareness of human
ecology and the fragility of the relative biological well-being that
many of us enjoy. Garrett has mastered an extraordinary amount of detail
about the pathology, epidemiology, and human events surrounding dozens
of complex diseases. She writes engagingly, carrying her themes as well
as the reader's interest from outbreak to outbreak."
-Fitzhugh Mullan, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Absorbing ... the insights into the personalities and the stories behind the
new infectious diseases are fascinating. I have the greatest admiration for
-Abraham Verghese, M.D., author of In the Heartland: A Doctor's Story of a Town and Its People in the Age of AIDS
"Exciting, frightening, heartening, reassuring, and galvanizing ... as up-todate
as tomorrow's newspapers ... every literate American should read it. If I
were a high-school biology teacher, I would adopt it for my course. Not only
is it clear and accurate, not only does it convey the excitement of modern
science, but it documents its statements with extensive notes, which constitute
a reading list for further study."
-Leon Eisenberg, M.D., New York Newsday
"A masterpiece of reporting and writing, The Coming Plague is the best and
most thorough book on the terrifying emergence of new plagues. The level of
detail is amazing, with fascinating portraits of the so-called 'disease cowboys,'
the doctors and scientists who fight infectious diseases on the front lines. The
Coming Plague is a must read for anyone interested in the biological fate of
the human species."
-Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone
"Garrett's book is an exhaustively researched, often-gripping tome-covering
everything from African viruses to Toxic Shock Syndrome and AIDS."
-Scott Shibuya Brown, Los Angeles Times
"Garrett knows her stuff. She's as skillful at explaining the tricks bacteria use
to elude antibiotics as she is at tracing the complex genetic clues that hint at
how the AIDS virus emerged."
-Peter Jaret, The Washington Post
"This is gripping stuff. The story of the sudden emergence of the Ebola virus
in central Africa in the mid-1970s could easily have come from the pages of
a novel by Joseph Conrad."
-James Le Fanu. The Financial Times
"A Notable Book of 1994: A disturbing, meticulously researched medical alarm"
-The New York Times Book Review
"A magnificent attempt to make people realize that the future health of theworld is in great danger"
-Larry Kramer, The Guardian
the plausible threat of major new worldwide epidemics, as well as
eruptions of recently discovered diseases, Garrett's gripping and
frightening report sounds a wake-up call to the planet. . . . Her
first-rate investigation concludes with a call for a global
early-warning system to rapidly detect new diseases and drug-resistant
"Garrett lets the
blood-chilling facts speak for themselves, explaining the ways in which
diseases migrate and prosper with increasing immigration and
urbanization, revealing the blindness and duplicity of politicians."
-Rhoda Koenig, Vogue
and comprehensive . . . the book is not about some terrifying new
threat ready to pounce. Rather, it's an in-depth exploration of how
recent epidemics emerged, often with the unwitting assistance of
individuals, societies, and governments. . . . What Garrett does best is
reveal the interconnectedness of diseases and the conditions that
-Joan O'C. Hamilton, Business Week
shakes you awake by making smart connections between Toxic Shock
Syndrome, Legionnaires' Disease, AIDS, the Muerto Canyon microbe, the
Rwandan cholera outbreak, and other opportunistic diseases that the
author . . . says are ecological paybacks for our modern behavior,
flawed technology, and the destruction of the rain forests."
-Laura Mathews, Glamour
Garrett has written a compelling account of the challenges that Nature
continually throws at human civilization in the form of infectious
diseases. Like earthquakes and hurricanes, the devastating diseases that
periodically emerge-so vividly described by her-remind us how thin is
the veneer that separates our high-tech society from personal and
communal disaster. By embedding the story of how AIDS arose into stories
about so many other recently emerged microbes, she reminds us that AIDS
is not a unique occurrence but rather that any change in the habits of a
society is likely to release unforeseen and potentially disastrous
consequences. The Coming Plague is required reading for anyone who wants
to understand the march of contemporary world history."
-Dr. David Baltimore, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine
. . . has written an excellent encyclopedic history-and jeremiadof man
versus microbe in the last decades of the century. . . . In the best
tradition of Berton Roueche, each account is a dramatic narrative with
heroines. . . . One does not like to apply the phrase too often in a book review but here is a volume that should be required reading for policy makers and health professionals."
excellent field guide to global epidemics . . . Garrett possesses a
remarkable ability to synthesize complex scientific information and
demonstrate well-argued cause for alarm ... Garrett wisely details the
intricate effects of dangerous sex practices and warfare to the
widespread Isuse of antIbIOtIcs and the effects of contact with
previously unknown diseases following the destruction of the
rainforest-and ultimately pinpoints the seeds of the next plague in
-Mickey Butts, San Francisco Weekly
Coming Plague is one of those rare books in this end-of-an-era decade
that make us sadder but quite a bit wiser about the largely invisible
world around us."
-David Bowman, Huntsville News
Garrett's clear handling of emerging and res urging diseases has made a
very serious problem understandable to the general public. A highly
useful work for scientists, clinicians, and public-health professionals
as well, The Coming Plague is a story that urgently needs to be told,
for it affects the future well-being of us all. Garrett has told that
-Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner, Department of Health, New York City
"This might have been a sensation-seeking book that stirs things
up briefly, then qulckly dlssppears, but Garrett has studied the
scientific and popular literature, mtervlewed many knowledgeable
individuals, and constructed a cogent, well-documented, far-reaching
"This volume, like its intellectual mother, Silent Spring by
Rachel Carson, will not only introduce state-of-the-art concepts to the
world at large, but will probably also be recognized as a classic
treatise on humankind's situation in the natural world. . . . A dire
warning in the form of a digestible, intensely researched collection of
'stories' that is both alarming and captivating."
- West Coast Review of Books
could be the most disturbing book you'll ever read. . . . What makes
Laurie Garrett's glimpse of a biological Armageddon so frightening is
that she is so thorough, so logical, and so compelling."
-Mike Vogel, The Buffalo News
"An epidemiological treasure trove, and Garrett gets the complex
stories right. Just as important, Garrett conveys the web of political
and cultural contexts that too often hinder a swift response to a
disease. Denial, professional competitiveness, turf wars, institutional
inertia, corporate obfuscation, policy squabbles, international
politics-some of our worst societal traits come into play, and Garrett
makes it insightfully and painfully clear that the advance of medicine
is an utterly human endeavor."
-Joe Wakelee-Lynch, San Jose Mercury News
"The book is ambitious, but it succeeds. . . . Ms. Garrett is
probably the best-informed AIDS journalist writing, and these chapters
are a chilling tour de force .. .. The book's scope is encyclopedic, its
mass of detail startling."
- The Economist
"A remarkable piece of work. Garrett has invested much of her
career in covering the microbe story. Her experience and effort show. . .
. Garrett opts for a steady accumulation of rigorously reported medical
cases buttressed with statistics, research references, and quotes. Her
reporting eliminates ignorance as a refuge. Because of that, the fear
she arouses feels much more acute."
-Scott Lafee, The San Diego Union- Tribune
moving, and terrifying . . . skillfully illustrates the role of
ecology, politics, and economics in worldwide healthcare and uses
numerous examples to emphasize the need for a global perspective in the
management of disease .... An extremely readable style and exhaustive
notes make this fascinating reading for general readers and scholars
develops her theme that rapidly increasing dangers are being ignored.
Her investigations have taken over a decade to complete, and her
findings are meticulously discussed and distilled."
-Richard Horton, The New York Review of Books
reading Laurie Garrett's new book, it becomes not only easy to imagine a
deadly plague crashing down on our heads, it appears it may just be
something we have to expect sooner or later."
-Chris Petrakos, Chicago Tribune
has done a brilliant job of putting scientific work into layman's
language, and the scariness of medical melodramas is offset by the
excitement of scientific detection."
-The New Yorker