Ebola

Our guest is Kyle Harper, a professor of classics and letters at the University of Oklahoma, whose books include "The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire" and "From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity." He joins us to discuss his hefty and fascinating new book, "Plagues upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History." It offers a meticulously detailed "germ's-eye view" of human life on this planet -- from the origins of disease among our earliest hunter-gatherers to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Karen M. Masterson, a journalist turned malaria researcher, whose new book is "The Malaria Project: The U.S. Government's Secret Mission to Find a Miracle Cure." It's a remarkable and sometimes unsettling story of science, medicine, and war -- at once illuminating and surprising, the book also explores the ethical perils of seeking treatments for disease while ignoring the human condition.