An engaging primer on six emerging diseases that have tormented the world recently: (1) Mad Cow Disease, (2) HIV/AIDS, (3) Salmonella DT104, (4) Lyme Disease, (5) Nile Virus, and (6) SARS. Walters' premise is that we have radically changed the environment and thus we are reaping the results of our own actions via plagues. Trained as a veterinarian, Walters sees all of the above plagues as the interactions between animals and our disruption of the environment. He states, "Intensive modern agriculture, clear-cutting of forests, global climate changes, decimation of many predators that once kept disease-carrying smaller animals in check, and other environmental changes have all contributed to the increase [of epidemics]." He also mentions how the increase of global travel has contributed to the spread diseases (i.e. SARS and HIV/AIDS).
The book is a short, (156 pages) quick read, and best suited for those outside of the medical community who want to know more about any, or all, of these plagues. If you have a good grasp of epidemiology, and are well-read, you will probably find the subject matter remedial. Also, Walters' treatment of the six plagues is uneven. His last chapter on SARS is a quick gloss over and disappointing in comparison to his more captivating treatment of the preceding five plagues. Recommended 3.5 stars.