KCBX 89.5 FM, “Issues and Ideas”

Central Coast Public Radio! Author, Bee Bloeser, is interviewed on the Issues and Ideas segment:


Wilmer and I discuss my book, VACCINES & BAYONETS: Fighting Smallpox in Africa amid Tribalism, Terror and the Cold War.  

              Vaccines & Bayonets NPR Podcast interview

What’s All the Fuss About?

—Sasha Polakow-Suransky, Deputy Editor of Foreign Policy magazine says:

“At a time when vaccines are front page news and a deadly pandemic is raging across the globe, Bee Bloeser’s memoir, , , makes for riveting reading. . .both a captivating family history and a reminder of how public health campaigns are still inextricably intertwined with politics. . . .[it] illustrates how inoculating vulnerable people against a killer virus can be a tool of soft power that builds diplomatic goodwill. . . .”

—Adam Roberts, Midwest Correspondent at The Economist, former Bureau Chief Johannesburg and Delhi says:

“Bloeser has written a closely observed and revealing memoir. . .affectionate detail. . . historically important, not least in the light of new, urgent, global efforts to deliver vaccinations to defeat the coronavirus pandemic. . .most remarkable when it recounts living in tropical, isolated and unfortunate Equatorial Guinea. . .This is a sympathetic, vividly told and useful record of an unusually sombre moment in West African history.”


—Pamela Alexander, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author, Creative writing faculty, MIT and Oberlin College says:

“Bloeser’s story reads like a political thriller, women’s history, and African adventure rolled into one. . . . Riveting.”

Tell Me More

When the world’s nations join hands to banish smallpox, the author’s husband is posted to West Africa, initially to Nigeria. She eagerly follows him with two young children and wide-eyed ideals. What she finds during their two-year adventure deepens her love for Africa while its tragedies along with tripwires of international service erode her naïveté. Later attached to America’s smallest embassy, in Equatorial Guinea, her husband must partner with a regime known as “the terror.” Its people are brutalized and journalists are banned. The author, one of only two American women in the country, keeps cryptic notes and hides them in the sock drawer, notes now a part of this memoir.

Have your copy yet?

Vaccines & Bayonets is available in hardcover, paperback and E-book through Amazon and most online booksellers.

In the Santa Barbara area, you can find it in Montecito at Tecolote Book Shop.

Oh, you’ve already read it? 

Thank you for reading! If you take just a few quick minutes and post a review, it would really help me.

Next Events:

Nov. 17 – global public health majors at Univ. of Northern Iowa. (Completed. Great session with some really engaged students!)

Dec. 1 –  Speaking for Santa Barbara North Rotary


Thank you, my friend, for your support and your interest in this story. I hope you enjoy listening in. And I hope you enjoy the book.