The Malaria Project:
The U.S. Government’s Secret Mission to Find a Miracle Cure

“Ms. Masterson’s analysis of the havoc caused by the disease… makes a compelling read…[Her] gripping tale unfolds seamlessly. She offers technical details without jargon and is refreshingly without axes to grind.” –Wall Street Journal, Bookshelf Review by William Bynum (Read the PDF)

Meet Karen Masterson

Meet Karen Masterson
Karen M. Masterson is a former political reporter for the Washington Bureau of the Houston Chronicle who left newspapers to pursue her interest in microbiology. In 2005, she won a Knight Journalism Fellowship to study malaria at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and in rural Tanzania. She has a master’s of journalism from the University of Maryland and an MA in science writing from Johns Hopkins University’s acclaimed Writing Seminars, where she now teaches. She lives with her husband and twin daughters outside Washington, D.C.

See what other news media are saying:
Science, Irwin W. Sherman
NBC News, Bill Briggs
Nature, Robert Seder
Washington Post, Nancy Szokan
Newser, Kate Seamons
Publishers Weekly Review
Arlington Magazine, Cathy Alter
Huffpost, Cameron Conaway
University of Maryland Magazine, Liam Farrell

Read Karen’s articles about Malaria:
Time 10/2/2014
The Last Word on Nothing 10/22/2014
The Last Word on Nothing 12/7/2011
The Lancet 3/17/2007
Stimson Spotlight 3/7/2011

Hear the interviews:
C-SPAN, Dr. Alvin A. JonesKMA Radio Don & Dean Show:

Public Radio Tulsa, Rich Fisher:



“…a thorough and important assessment of an under-reported and ethically-suspect period in U.S. medical history.”
Publishers Weekly

“Malaria is an unholy mosaic of parasitology, pharmacology, economics, chemistry, military strategy, politics, medicine, psychology; of prisoners and syphilitics and the hopelessly insane; of war and peace. Karen M. Masterson shows you the whole mosaic with such narrative intensity, you can’t help but read straight through to the end.”
—Ann Finkbeiner, author of A Grand and Bold Thing and The Jasons, and editor of the acclaimed science blog, The Last Word on Nothing.

“Part detective tale, part history. The Malaria Project tells the fascinating inside story of how scientists took on one of the most deadly diseases ever to strike humankind. Masterson takes readers from the trenches of World War I and battlefields of World War II to science labs and hospitals. She dramatizes the use of malaria as a weapon, and the high-stakes fight against the disease through characters as diverse as Hitler and Dr. Seuss. The Malaria Project is to public health what the Manhattan Project was to warfare.”
—Thomas Frank, USA Today investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Explanatory Journalism.

“Malaria is a tragically durable and often-overlooked global disease that once felled entire armies on the field of battle. Karen M. Masterson has written an absorbing tale of the many scientists and doctors who, from the nineteenth century on, tried to figure out and contain this devious enemy once and for all. The Malaria Project is a fascinating story of the hunt for a killer as medical science emerges from its own dark ages.”
—Joel Achenbach, Washington Post science reporter and author of A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea: The Race to Kill the BP Oil Gusher.