Bearing Witness

by Billy Shore

The Unique Role of Public Affairs in Giving Voice to the Voiceless

Monday, August 29, 2011


This weekend I read a brand new book called Lifeblood: How to Change the World One Dead Mosquito at a Time, by Alex Perry, Time Magazine’s Africa Bureau chief. It’s a profile of the efforts of long-time friend and Share Our Strength supporter Ray Chambers to rid Africa of Malaria, first through an organization he helped create called Malaria No More, and then in his role as the UN’s first special envoy for malaria.

Much of the focus of the book is on how Chambers used business practices to scale up the effort to distribute insecticide treated bed nets, and the many lives that has saved. It’s a good read and because it is published by Public Affairs which last year published my book The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men @ about the race to develop a malaria vaccine, and about the challenge of solving problems that affect people so voiceless that there are no markets for solving them, I think of the books as worthy bookends.

Mostly I’m so admiring of Public Affairs for having the courage and commitment to tackle subjects that at first may not seem to appeal to a large commercial market, and nevertheless publish them in a way that enables such important issues, like malaria, to reach a wider audience. It’s a unique niche in American publishing today, and a true public service.