*The Origins of AIDS*

The author is Jacques Pepin and this is a splendid book.  It is a remarkably thorough epidemiological detective story, which breaks new ground, and on top of that it serves up an excellent (partial) history of Zaire, history of the African sex trade, and history of Haiti.  Excerpt:

In tropical Africa, the median number of infective [mosquito] bites is 77 per year, but in the rural and rainy areas of central Africa this number is generally >>200.  The record belongs to a village of Equatorial Guinea, where humans sustain 1,030 infective bites per year, three per day!

It is the most impressively researched book I’ve read all year, as suspenseful as a thriller, and tragic in mood.  It’s amazing how far back Pepin can trace back the history of AIDS and the diversity of sources and records he draws upon.  Here is one overview of the book.  Definitely recommended, one of the best books of the year.


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