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The Miraculous Fever-Tree: Malaria and the Quest for a Cure That Changed the World (Hardcover)

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The fascinating story of the intensive search to discover and possess quinine—the only known cure for malaria

Malaria kills someone every 12 minutes in Africa. Now known mostly as a disease of the tropics, malaria led to the demise of the Roman Empire 2,000 years ago and ravaged Europe for years afterwards. At the start of the 17th century, Jesuit priests developed quinine, an alkaloid made out of the bitter red bark of the cinchona tree from the Andes. When quinine arrived in Europe, the Protestant powers resisted the medicine fearing that it was a Popish poison. Quinine’s reputation improved, however, when King Charles II was cured of malaria through its offices. Through the centuries, wars were fought to control the supply-through the building of the Panama Canal and into WWII--until Americans synthesized quinine for the first time in 1944.

Rocco describes the ravages of the disease, the search for a cure, and the quest to steal and smuggle cinchona seeds out of South America. The Miraculous Fever Tree deftly illuminates the religious and scientific rivalries, intrepid exploration and colonization evinced by the search for quinine.

About the Author

Fiammetta Rocco was raised in Kenya. Her grandfather, her father and she herself all suffered from malaria. Ms. Rocco's investigative journalism has won a number of awards in the United States and in Britain. She lives in London, where she is the literary editor of the Economist. This is her first book.

Praise For…

“An absorbing and superbly researched history of malaria and its cure.”
Sunday Times (London)

“Ms. Rocco tells her four-century saga briskly, with a confident blend of scholarship and memoir.”
Wall Street Journal

“Lively, elegantly written and often fascinating”
— Evening Standard (London)

“Snappy and’s almost a crime that so heinous a disease should be treated to so grand a biography.”
Kirkus Reviews

“An engrossing story...written with immense verve and confidence...crisp and fluent...a gripping and highly readable tale.”
New York Times Book Review

Product Details
ISBN: 9780060199517
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: August 5th, 2003
Pages: 368
Language: English