Wild women and restoring public trust: Books in brief

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    Wild women and restoring public trust: Books in brief


    The Rich Flee and the Poor Take the Bus

    Troy Tassier Johns Hopkins Univ. Press (2024)

    An adage in epidemiology states that, if you’ve seen one epidemic, you’ve seen one epidemic. However, argues economist Troy Tassier in his thoughtful history, in almost every epidemic, the rich escape and survive while the poor stay and suffer. Take the London plague of 1625 — the wealthy fled, food prices soared and the poor starved, until eventually King Charles I taxed the rich refugees. To avoid future epidemic catastrophes, nations must support “universal access to high-quality health care” and “living wages for all workers”.

    Write Cut Rewrite

    Dirk Van Hulle & Mark Nixon Bodleian Library Publishing (2024)

    The Bodleian Library in Oxford, UK, stores draft manuscripts, including one of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921). The last line translates to “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent”, followed by his handwritten “Schluss!” (‘The End!’). Another, ‘The Mole & the Water Rat’ by writer Kenneth Grahame, was published as The Wind in the Willows (1908). Both are illustrated in this varied book about how authors compose and revise, by historian Dirk Van Hulle and literature researcher Mark Nixon.

    The Incarcerations

    Alpa Shah William Collins (2024)

    India is a democracy, but between 2018 and 2020, its government imprisoned, so far without trial, 16 Indian academics, lawyers, poets and journalists, notable for defending human rights. It accused them — on fraudulent evidence — of being Maoist terrorists plotting to kill Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The case is a “bellwether for the collapse of democracy in India”, argues anthropologist Alpa Shah, in her deeply researched and frequently shocking account of how Hindu nationalism has created “an Indian form of fascism”.

    Wild Woman

    Philippa Forrester Bloomsbury Wildlife (2024)

    A prime-time TV presenter and producer of science documentaries, Philippa Forrester holds degrees in English literature and ecology. In 2015, she moved from the United Kingdom to Wyoming, where she encountered wolves, grizzly bears and moose, before returning home. In this personal and readable account of women working in nature over several centuries, Forrester calls herself “a hybrid of scientist and storyteller”, belonging to no “wild” female archetype — neither a practical “nurturer” nor a spiritual “crazy crone”.

    Paranoia

    Daniel Freeman William Collins (2024)

    There needs to be a public discussion about trust, argues Daniel Freeman, the world’s leading paranoia researcher: on both “the forces that undermine it, and the measures we can take to restore it”. Some 1–3% of the population have severe paranoia. Such mistrust might be why conspiracy theories flourished during the COVID-19 pandemic. But there is hope, Freeman concludes, if world leaders work together, as US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev did during the cold war.

    Competing Interests

    The author declares no competing interests.



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