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Survivors Delve Deeper Reading List

Adult Nonfiction

Quammen, David.Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus. W.W. Norton & Company, 2014.

In 1976 a deadly virus emerged from the Congo forest. As swiftly as it came, it disappeared, leaving no trace. Over the four decades since, Ebola has emerged sporadically, each time to devastating effect. It can kill up to 90 percent of its victims. In between these outbreaks, it is untraceable, hiding deep in the jungle. The search is on to find Ebola’s elusive host animal. And until we find it, Ebola will continue to strike. Acclaimed science writer and explorer David Quammen first came near the virus while he was traveling in the jungles of Gabon, accompanied by local men whose village had been devastated by a recent outbreak. Here he tells the story of Ebola—its past, present, and its unknowable future.

Hatch, Steven.Inferno: A Doctor’s Ebola Story.St. Martin’s Press, 2017.

Dr. Steven Hatch, an infectious disease specialist, first came to Liberia in November 2013 to work at a hospital in Monrovia. Six months later, several of the physicians he had served with were dead or unable to work, and Ebola had become a world health emergency. Inferno is his account of the epidemic that nearly consumed a nation, as well as its deeper origins.

Shah, Sonia.Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond.Sarah Crichton Books, 2016.

Pandemic interweaves history, original reportage, and personal narrative to explore the origins of contagions, drawing parallels between cholera, one of history’s most deadly and disruptive pandemic-causing pathogens, and the new diseases that stalk humankind today. To reveal how a new pandemic might develop, Sonia Shah tracks each stage of cholera’s dramatic journey, from its emergence in the South Asian hinterlands as a harmless microbe to its rapid dispersal across the nineteenth-century world, all the way to its latest beachhead in Haiti. Along the way she reports on the pathogens now following in cholera’s footsteps, from the MRSA bacterium that besieges her own family to the never-before-seen killers coming out of China’s wet markets, the surgical wards of New Delhi, and the suburban backyards of the East Coast.

Oldstone, Michael B. A.Viruses, Plagues, and History: Past, Present, and Future.Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2010.

The story of viruses and humanity is a story of fear and ignorance, of grief and heartbreak, and of great bravery and sacrifice. Michael Oldstone tells all these stories as he illuminates the history of the devastating diseases that have tormented humanity, focusing mostly on the most famous viruses. Oldstone begins with smallpox, polio, and measles. Nearly 300 million people were killed by smallpox in this century alone and the author presents a vivid account of the long campaign to eradicate this lethal killer. Oldstone then describes the fascinating viruses that have captured headlines in more recent years: Ebola, Hantavirus, mad cow disease (a frightening illness made worse by government mishandling and secrecy), and, of course, AIDS.

Forna, Aminatta.The Devil That Danced on the Water.Atlantic Monthly Press, 2002.

Mohamed Forna was a man of impeccable integrity and enchanting charisma. As Sierra Leone faced its future as a fledgling democracy, he was a new star in the political firmament, a man who had been one of the first black students to come to Britain after the war. He stole the heart of Aminatta’s mother, to the dismay of her Presbyterian parents, and returned with her to Sierra Leone. But as Aminatta Forna shows with compelling clarity, the old Africa was torn apart by new ways of Western parliamentary democracy, which gave birth only to dictatorships and corruption of hitherto undreamed-of magnitude.