Book cover of Pathogenesis: A History of the World in Eight Plagues by Jonathan Kennedy
Health and Psychology

Pathogenesis: A History of the World in Eight Plagues

According to the accepted narrative of progress, humans have thrived thanks to their brains and brawn, collectively bending the arc of history. But in this revelatory book, Professor Jonathan Kennedy argues that the myth of human exceptionalism overstates the role that we play in social and political change. Instead, it is the humble microbe that wins wars and topples empires. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide by Steven W. Thrasher
Health and Psychology

The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide

Having spent a ground-breaking career studying the racialization, policing, and criminalization of HIV, Dr. Thrasher has come to understand a deeper truth at the heart of our society: that there are vast inequalities in who is able to survive viruses and that the ways in which viruses spread, kill, and take their toll are much more dependent on social structures than they are on biology alone. […Learn More]

Book cover of To End a Plague: America's Fight to Defeat AIDS in Africa by Emily Bass
Africa

To End a Plague: America’s Fight to Defeat AIDS in Africa

With his 2003 announcement of a program known as PEPFAR, George W. Bush launched an astonishingly successful American war against a global pandemic. PEPFAR played a key role in slashing HIV cases and AIDS deaths in sub-Saharan Africa, leading to the brink of epidemic control. Resilient in the face of flatlined funding and political headwinds, PEPFAR is America’s singular example of how to fight long-term plague—and win. […Learn More]

Book cover of Genetics in the Madhouse: The Unknown History of Human Heredity by Theodore M. Porter
Biological Sciences

Genetics in the Madhouse: The Unknown History of Human Heredity

The untold story of how hereditary data in mental hospitals gave rise to the science of human heredity

In the early 1800s, a century before there was any concept of the gene, physicians in insane asylums began to record causes of madness in their admission books. Almost from the beginning, they pointed to heredity as the most important of these causes. […Learn More]

Book cover of Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones
Health and Psychology

Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic

From a small town in Mexico to the boardrooms of Big Pharma to main streets nationwide, an explosive and shocking account of addiction in the heartland of America.

In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America–addiction like no other the country has ever faced. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland. […Learn More]

Book cover of Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet by Chelsea Wald
Biological Sciences

Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet

Most of us do not give much thought to the centerpiece of our bathrooms, but the toilet is an unexpected paradox. On the one hand, it is a modern miracle: a ubiquitous fixture in a vast sanitation system that has helped add decades to the human life span by reducing disease. On the other hand, the toilet is also a tragic failure: less than half of the world’s population can access a toilet that safely manages body waste, including many right here in the United States. And it is inefficient, squandering clean water as well as the nutrients, energy, and information contained in the stuff we flush away. […Learn More]

Book cover of Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 by Sarah Schulman
Biography & Autobiography

Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993

Twenty years in the making, Sarah Schulman’s Let the Record Show is the most comprehensive political history ever assembled of ACT UP and American AIDS activism

In just six years, ACT UP, New York, a broad and unlikely coalition of activists from all races, genders, sexualities, and backgrounds, changed the world. Armed with rancor, desperation, intelligence, and creativity, it took on the AIDS crisis with an indefatigable, ingenious, and multifaceted attack on the corporations, institutions, governments, and individuals who stood in the way of AIDS treatment for all. […Learn More]