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. But why did it happen, and what can we learn from it?

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. Under formal colonial rule, disease containment was a priority but care was not – and the region’s health care woes worsened, with devastating consequences that Farmer traces up to the present. 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.

Copies of the book may be preordered at

  • Paul Farmer, MD, PhD | Kolokotrones University Professor, Harvard University
  • Salmaan Keshavjee, MD, PhD, ScM | Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School
  • Michelle Morse, MD, MA | Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
  • Joan Y. Reede, MD, MS, MPH, MBA | Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership, Harvard Medical School
  • Pardis Sabeti, MD, PhD | Professor, Harvard University and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 4:00–5:30pm (EST)

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