What We Are Reading Today: Fevers, feuds, and diamonds by Paul Farmer

What We Are Reading Today: Fevers, feuds, and diamonds by Paul Farmer
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Updated 19 November 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Fevers, feuds, and diamonds by Paul Farmer

What We Are Reading Today: Fevers, feuds, and diamonds by Paul Farmer

This thorough and hopeful narrative is a definitive work of reportage, history, and advocacy, and a crucial intervention in public health discussions around the world.

In 2014, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea suffered the worst epidemic of Ebola in history. The brutal virus spread rapidly through a clinical desert where basic health care facilities were few and far between. Causing severe loss of life and economic disruption, the Ebola crisis was a major tragedy of modern medicine. 

Paul Farmer, the internationally renowned doctor and anthropologist, experienced the Ebola outbreak firsthand. Partners in Health, the organization he founded, was among the international responders. 

In Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds, he offers the first substantive account of this frightening, fast-moving episode and its implications. 

In vibrant prose, Farmer tells the harrowing stories of Ebola victims while showing why the medical response was slow and insufficient. 

Rebutting misleading claims about the origins of Ebola and why it spread so rapidly, he traces West Africa’s chronic health failures back to centuries of exploitation and injustice.


What We Are Reading Today: Gangsters and Other Statesmen by Danilo Mandic

Updated 03 December 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Gangsters and Other Statesmen by Danilo Mandic

What We Are Reading Today: Gangsters and Other Statesmen by Danilo Mandic

Separatism has been on the rise across the world since the end of the Cold War, dividing countries through political strife, ethnic conflict, and civil war, and redrawing the political map. Gangsters and Other Statesmen examines the role transnational mafias play in the success and failure of separatist movements, challenging conventional wisdom about the interrelation of organized crime with peacebuilding, nationalism, and state making.

Danilo Mandic conducted fieldwork in the disputed territories of Kosovo and South Ossetia, talking to mobsters, separatists, and policymakers in war zones and along major smuggling routes. In this timely and provocative book, he demonstrates how globalized mafias shape the politics of borders in torn states, shedding critical light on an autonomous nonstate actor that has been largely sidelined by considerations of geopolitics, state-centered agency, and ethnonationalism. Blending extensive archival sleuthing and original ethnographic data with insights from sociology and other disciplines, Mandic argues that organized crime can be a fateful determinant of state capacity, separatist success, and ethnic conflict.

Putting mafias at the center of global processes of separatism and territorial consolidation, Gangsters and Other Statesmen raises vital questions and urges reconsideration of a host of separatist cases in West Africa, the Middle East, and East Europe.