An academic and a physician activist offer a theory of human and planetary health as a matter of structural social justice, exploring the hidden relationships between our "inflamed" biological systems and corrupt political and economic systems.
Comprehensive in scope ... Inflammation, they argue, is a sign that the body is trying to heal itself—not so much that it is under attack but that it is ailing from within. While they indulge in this metaphor perhaps a bit too much, they aren’t comparing contemporary life to, say, cancer. Rather, they’re asserting that capitalism forces people to live in a way that causes higher rates of illnesses like cancer—and that alternatives have always existed ... Puerto Rico provides Marya and Patel with particularly rich material for consideration, because the material damage of colonial capitalism can be found everywhere ... A new model is clearly in order. But when it comes to discussing how to create one, Inflamed is short on specifics. No book can be all things, and this one is ultimately a work of diagnosis more than one of prescription. At once empathetic and skeptical of power, it is bold and searching in its examination of the ways in which the human body has exhibited the consequences of a specific economic and political system. Yet Marya and Patel might have reserved more space to consider the kinds of political solutions that will be needed to abolish such a system.
... impeccably researched ... a subversive political analysis ... Inflamed is sometimes circuitous but remarkably lucid. And yet there is an unassailable sense that, like the sickened body systems they describe, the authors are rightly inflamed too ... Ultimately, the title makes clear that our current practice of medicine, one that was largely developed in tandem with colonialism, can and will be improved by considering the human experience as a whole, reconnecting to our histories and communities, 'uncovering a path to a future where health in its broadest terms might be possible'.
... [a] well-written, compelling book ... Particularly moving chapters highlight health care inequality in the United States that particularly affects Black Americans and Indigenous peoples; examples include racial disparities in COVID-19 infection and recovery rates ... An excellent book for anyone concerned with health, community, or the environment. The accessible writing will draw readers in.