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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 by
celebrated historian Emily Mayhew traces the advances in science, technology and humanitarianism that are enabling us to take them on, one by one.

‘The beauty of The Four Horsemen is how she takes her quaking readers to the edge of the abyss . . . I was left moved and uplifted . . . [A] first-class example of popular science’ The Times
‘[A] thoughtful and ultimately uplifting analysis of the unsung heroes of our age’ Independent

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.

Reviews

The most gripping non-fiction book I have read in a very long time
Mark Haddon, on A Heavy Reckoning
A Fascinating book
The Times, on Wounded
An engaging piece of research, history and recollection
The Economist, on The Guinea Pig Club
[A] thoughtful and ultimately uplifting analysis of the unsung heroes of our age
Independent
Mayhew's book is rich in explanation and background detail...Although this is a scary book, it is also one full of hope
Independent
The beauty of The Four Horsemen is how she takes her quaking readers to the edge of the abyss, encouraging them to peek into the darkness below, then gently pulls them back, explaining how the worst can be averted, by dint of carefully accumulated wisdom, generosity of spirit, hard work and sheer ingenuity . . . I was left moved and uplifted . . . [I]n this first-class example of popular science Mayhew demonstrates that's also where salvation lies.
The Times