A meticulously researched book exploring the modern ways in which war, famine, pestilence and death affect the world, and the hopeful alliance of NGOs, scientists and academics to combat them.
In lucid and energised prose, Emily Mayhew summons the four horsemen of the apocalypse; the collective threat to humanity bearing the names of war, pestilence, famine and death. From their first appearance in Revelations they have remained in human consciousness ever since, spanning time and space and evolving as new scientific discoveries and advancements in technology alter the world.
The Four Horsemen examines in detail the four afflictions faced by humanity throughout history and shows, that despite our pessimistic view of the future there are people from all walks of life - scientists, doctors, engineers, biologists, statisticians, app developers, historians, NGOs and volunteers - who are making the world a safer place.
The line stretches all the way round the world and its strength comes from common purpose. They seek to save us through some of the most inspiring and exciting human endeavours ever undertaken. Every day they dare to hope that beyond them lies a new age. They are the most extraordinary alliance ever to have come together in defence of our humanity.
From the international agencies that stepped in to take the place of the International Red Cross during the liberation from Isis of Mosul, the need to find new sources of antimicrobial medicines to take the place of antibiotics, the laboratory work being taken to protect crops from disease, the innovations we have seen in preventing the spread of deadly virus like Ebola, to the preservation and identification of the dead after natural disasters like the tsunami that overtook Indonesia in 2004, Mayhew shows why we can have hope for the future.
Dr Emily Mayhew is historian in residence in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London. She is the author of the Wounded trilogy: A Heavy Reckoning, The Reconstruction of Warriors, and Wounded: from Battlefield to Blighty which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize in 2014. She is Imperial College Internal Lead on the Paediatric Blast Injury Partnership, and co-edited The Paediatric Blast Injury Field Manual