From the Dust Jacket of The River

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IT NOW SEEMS CERTAIN THAT HIV can be traced back to retroviruses found in certain species of African apes and monkeys. But why did these simian viruses suddenly transfer to the human species? Those who believe in a natural movement across the species barrier would be hard-pressed to explain why this transfer did not occur until the late twentieth century. Do we need to look elsewhere for the true source of HIV and AIDS?

With this question Edward Hooper begins his unprecendented investigation. The result is the most gripping and significant medical detective story of our time.

Having examined virtually every theory ever proposed to explain AIDS, Hooper became convinced that medical interventions made in Africa in the 1950s were themselves unwittingly responsible. Such a tragedy requires urgent examination.

Based on nine years of full-time research involving over six hundred interviews and the examination of four thousand books and articles, The River is certain to become the authoritative chronicle of the AIDS pandemic. This is an exceptionally compelling and vivid epic of investigation, adventure and revelation.


After graduating in 1973 Edward Hooper divided his time between Europe and Africa, working as, among other things, a United Nations oficial, a school-teacher, a storekeeper in a diamond mine, and the BBC correspondent in Sudan and Uganda. In 1986 Hooper's reports from southern Uganda, where an AIDS epidemic was already raging in the general population, did much to alert the world that people of both sexes and all ages were at risk. His first book, Slim (1990), is a personal account of the East African epidemic. Since then he has written articles about early examples of HIV and AIDS for Nature, the Lancet and the British Medical Journal. He has dedicated the last nine years to researching and writing The River. Edward Hooper lives in Somerset.


´What scoops, what personalities, what landscapes, what far places! Above all what enigmas, what awful inexorable tragedy stand there behind!

Everyone should read this book, both for its story and in order to think hard on all that it implies.´

W. D. Hamilton, Royal Society Research Professor,
Department of Zoology, University of Oxford