The Four Horsemen – War, Pestilence, Famine and Death – first appeared in the Book of Revelations a thousand years ago, but they continue to track us in our own time. This original and inspiring study bycelebrated historian Emily Mayhew traces the advances in science, technology and humanitarianism that are enabling us to take them on, one by one.
It begins in Mosul, our oldest surviving city, and the extraordinary coalition created in a matter of days to save its people from the worst horrors of the liberation battle against ISIS. As the city and the humanitarian operation that helped it to survive are restructured for a new age, Mayhew shows other people whose work gives us hope for the future, from the search to find new ways to discover and use antimicrobial medicines and the innovations in preventing the spread of deadly viruses; the laboratory work being taken to protect crops from disease and reduce famine, and why the potato, not the banana is the future; to the unique courage and resolution of those dedicated to securing the rights of the dead and their families. Standing in the way of the Horsemen is what Emily Mayhew calls, ‘the most extraordinary alliance ever to come together in defence of our humanity.’ These are the doctors, scientists, statisticians, engineers, peace negotiators, pharmacists, historians, forensic scientists, vaccinators and volunteers who are creating solutions to life and death problems which threaten us all. They are the new heroes of our age and this book is about them.