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The Four Horsemen

Emily Mayhew

3 Reviews

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Popular science

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.

The Four Horsemen - War, Pestilence, Famine and Death - first appeared in the Book of Revelations a thousand years ago, but they continue to track us in our own time. This original and inspiring study by
celebrated historian Emily Mayhew traces the advances in science, technology and humanitarianism that are enabling us to take them on, one by one.

It begins in Mosul, our oldest surviving city, and the extraordinary coalition created in a matter of days to save its people from the worst horrors of the liberation battle against ISIS. As the city and the humanitarian operation that helped it to survive are restructured for a new age, Mayhew shows other people whose work gives us hope for the future, from the search to find new ways to discover and use antimicrobial medicines and the innovations in preventing the spread of deadly viruses; the laboratory work being taken to protect crops from disease and reduce famine, and why the potato, not the banana is the future; to the unique courage and resolution of those dedicated to securing the rights of the dead and their families.

Standing in the way of the Horsemen is what Emily Mayhew calls, 'the most extraordinary alliance ever to come together in defence of our humanity.' These are the doctors, scientists, statisticians, engineers, peace negotiators, pharmacists, historians, forensic scientists, vaccinators and volunteers who are creating solutions to life and death problems which threaten us all. They are the new heroes of our age and this book is about them.

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Praise for The Four Horsemen

  • The most gripping non-fiction book I have read in a very long time

  • A Fascinating book - The Times, on Wounded

  • An engaging piece of research, history and recollection - The Economist, on The Guinea Pig Club

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Emily Mayhew

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

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