By: Fiammetta Rocco
348 pages, B/w photos, illus
In the summer of 1623, ten cardinals and hundreds of their attendants, engaged in electing a new Pope, died from the 'mal'aria' or 'bad air' of the Roman marshes. Their choice, Pope Urban VIII, determined that a cure should be found for the fever that was the scourge of the Mediterranean, northern Europe and America, and in 1631 a young Jesuit apothecarist in Peru sent to the Old World a cure that had been found in the New - where the disease was unknown. The cure was quinine, an alkaloid made of the bitter red bark of the cinchona tree, which grows in the Andes. Rocco, who has suffered from malaria, explores the history of the disease, the struggle to find cures, and the way in which the discovery of quinine opened up the Tropics.
'This engrossing, beautifully crafted history is a parable for our times, I believe, underscoring the foolishness of men, with some rare exceptions, and the munificence of Nature' Adrian Hartley, Spectator'Absorbing and superbly researched' Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times'A fascinating account of quinine's key role in the making of the modern world. Many have tried to tell this tale, and it is a testament to Rocco's flair and sheer hard work that she has found new things to say' Gail Vines, Independent'Fiammetta Rocco's wonderfully elegant book, drawing on previously undiscovered documents, attacks its subject as hungrily as a mosquito detecting its next meal' Philip Blackmore, Catholic Herald'Fascinating...[Rocco] writes beautifully, her personal anecdotes intertwining with a fast-paced historical survey of the disease and the quest for a cure. And it is an exciting story, rich in suffering, conflict, bravery, curiosity, bigotyr, inventiveness, greed -- you name it...The Miraculous Fever-Tree is lovingly researched and written. It is the kind of book that opens up exciting new worlds of knowledge' Anna Paterson, Scotland on Sunday 'Snappy and sharp, picaresque but scholarly; it's almost a crime that so heinous a disease should be treated to so grand a biography' Kirkus Reviews
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