I've enjoyed Richard Preston's work in the past, and I most likely would prefer to actually read a copy of this one. I found the narrator dull, lifeless and absolutely boring to listen to. There was no inflection of his voice, no intonation, just a monotone delivery that drove me to distraction! The material that I could manage to listen to was well written, but very poorly read. I think I"ll go buy a copy of the book and save myself the tedium of listening to this narrator. If I were basing this review on the quality of writing, this book would easily earn 4 stars, but because it's an audio version I can't give it more than 2.
I was sooo looking forward to this book as his previous books have been very entertaining and kept the interest high. Not this one. The narrator was bland, and the events that take place are disjointed- it doesn't flow smoothly. I hope the next one is better.
An autopsy of an inhalation anthrax victim.
The reader gave accents to different characters, which was very distracting. The Australian accent was particularly egregious, and the CDC scientist from the South sounded a bit like Gomer Pyle.
It made me concerned about the availability of the smallpox genome sequence in public databases!
This story is terrifying, intense, suspenseful, and dramatic. And it is true. The author has taken interviews, and public documents and sewn together a fantastic story of the eradication of smallpox and the 2001 Anthrax attack and connected them using the real peoples life stories to bring it all together.
I like dramatized history, and scientific stories like the Disappearing Spoon, and this fits right in. Reads like a summer blockbuster movie, but historically real.
The narrator does a great job telling that story with minimal accents, and dramatic interpretations. Very good voice inflection, and enthusiasm.
It is a fairly good story but has some very boring moments made even more boring by the terrible performance. I wanted to pull my hair out when it listed literally dozens of pox viruses by animal type.
Not really, smallpox is very dangerous and scary but we know there was no biological attack using it so we won't be surprised.
No, unless it is an amazing story and book and it is the only option.
It is scary to think about the possibility of literally thousands of gallons of smallpox laying around somewhere waiting to cause global anarchy.
The narrator attempts to do english accents which he accomplishes fairly well, but his take on Russian accents is comical. There is no reason to do accents with a book like this. He is very monotone and boring. I would recommend reading the book rather than listening to it.
Really, terrifying is the only word for it. Super-bugs resurrected from the past, weaponized, and potentially in the hands of anybody?
Other than that chill-factor, it's a spectacular read, interesting and informative, with enough of a mystery to keep one interested. As a medical professional, the description of the diseases were fascinating, though perhaps a bit grotesque. Definitely one that I'll be re-reading!
I work full time (3rd shift) and go to school full time for accounting. Without much time to sit down and just read a book but a 45-60 minute commute to and from work, I've just started seriously listening to audiobooks lately. They've been a lifesaver.
It touched so many different topics. While The Hot Zone focused almost solely on Ebola, this book touched a variety of viruses but they were all tied together. You got the backstory on the smallpox eradication efforts, the gruesome effects of the disease most of us have never seen, how the smallpox vaccination team got started in the field and pulled into the research held at the CDC in Atlanta and the story of the first bioterrorist attack on the United States right after 9/11. Very well written (as always) and enjoyable. The narrator did a wonderful job, his use of accents not detracting from the story but helping you genuinely get a feel for the person talking.
It did from the viewpoint that even though I know smallpox hasn't gotten out, I kept waiting for some catastrophe to occur. Any time you're dealing with a level 4 virus, a person can never be too careful. Add in long days inside a spacesuit conducting necropsies with very sharp scalpels, drugging monkeys who have not had their very sharp canines filed and drawing infected blood from those same monkeys with sharp needles and you have the recipe for potential disaster. Preston is able to give the feeling of constant threat without going overboard or sacrificing truth.
This book will keep you up at night.
This book underscores one of the potentially world-altering scenarios - biological warfare. Along the lines of Charlie Wilson's War - this is a situation where earth shaking events have occurred, but few people realize or understand. It highlights that there really are bad people out there. Those without scruples that would do harm to everyone and anyone to further their cause.
As a scientist, I found the book to be informative and technically precise. The author did a good job with proper pronunciation of technical terms. I appreciate the fact that the author seems to have gone to some length not to divulge too much information about the security practices that the US has in place to secure the exotic viruses it has for research purposes.
This contrasts with some other books that almost give a blueprint of how to get in where you shouldn't and the types of security measures that are in place.
There are times the story becomes less than smooth - especially some of the transitions between topics. There are a few editing issues, where a sentence or two is repeated, especially around the chapter markings.
Overall, a very worthy read.
Would recommend this book to anyone wanting to understand infectious diseases and bio-terrorism better.
Compelling narration by Boehner.
Research Technologist with deep interests in Host Cell - Pathogen Interactions & Cancer Research. I enjoy and mostly listen to Non-Fiction audiobooks on Medicine/Science, War and History. I also like to Game when I'm not in the lab.
Recommend this to all Medical Research Scientists like myself. It really opens your mind to a lot of things you never thought about. I really enjoyed every bit of it, not forgetting a great narrator too (Paul Boehmer).
Need more books like this.