A Book and a Cat: Nothing more
An interesting story of the history of modern antibiotic development, one illustration shows how utterly the world was changed in a decade. In 1924, Calvin Coolidge, Jr. died when infection set into a blister on a toe from playing tennis without socks. FDR, Jr. did not die of a similar strep infection in 1936. Both were sons of presidents, still in the White House. Though treated with the very best of care available, Coolidge died in a mere 8 days at Walter Reed. The difference was sulfa. FDR, Jr. was among the earliest patients in the US to be treated with a modern antibiotic, and his rapid and full recovery from a strep infection ushered in the antibiotic age in this country. Europe had been enjoying the benefits of sulfanilamide for a few years, but the saving of a President's son brought the insistence for its use to the US.
Sulfa is the focus of this book, and soon after its obvious success, penicillin was discovered. The arrival of these two life-saving agents meant that unlike the First World War, injured soldiers were less likely to die of post-operative infections during the Second World War.
The pace of the book was tedious at points, and detail excessive at times. Nevertheless, I found this an interesting piece of medical history. Non-medical persons need not be concerned that it will be too technical. Recommended.
He was very good. He has a nice voice, doesn't make you fall alseep or fall into monotone. Perfect for history and science narration.
I love history but had no knowledge of the subject of this book. It was very interesting, eye-opening, and informative. I think they did a very good job of weaving together the lives of the people that made the medicines possible, the history of the societies they came out of, and wrapping up nicely with a result of those those medicines of the past affect modern life.
Did not read print version
The Hot Zone, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
His voice was pleasant enough but the narration was marred by many mispronunciations which annoyed me. Particularly he keep referring to patent medicine by mispronouncing patent with a long "a" which would usually mean open in a medical sense, not the alternate pronunciation which is used when having the legal right to an idea or product. It may seem like a quibble but the term is used multiple times throughout the book.
No, it was too dense and factual. Better digested in small increments but totally worth the effort.
This book was a stark reminder of where we were before antibiotics and how we might regress given the rise of resistant organisms. It helps to have a medical background but not necessary for any person interested in the subject matter.
I ENJOY BIOGRAPHY AND NON-FICTION. I LIKE TO LEARN FROM STORIES.
Great voice, well-read, with a fascinating subject matter
It touches on many topics...medicine, history,biography, so it became a suspense novel, but one with accurate information. I loved it!!
Loved the organization of this book; it is told in broad strokes chronologically but the author saves some of the back-story for each major topic to right before it is covered making it very easy to follow.
This has become a personal favorite.
Enlightening! Loved the chronology aspect to modern day medicines. This could have been a boring, fact-filled narration, however the presentation made this so interesting that I had a hard time turning it off. Would recommend this to everyone.
Avid reader/listener. Scuba Diver, Civil Engineer, Real Estate Agent and Enthusiast. Univ. of Pittsburgh grad, Pittsburgh Penguins fan!
The Demon Under the Microscope is a great novel by Thomas Hager that covers the journey of pre-modern medicine up to and including the first attempt at curing bacterial infections and diseases with the sulfanilimide drug derivatives. Mr. Hager presents the information in a very logical and engaging fashion and will leave you feeling satisfied after finishing the book. In addition, the narration by Stephen Hoye is top notch.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in medical history, or just wanting to listen to a great story narrated by a great reader.
Please let me know what you think. I am curious to see what others have thought about this book.
Retired high school English teacher. I liked and worked with the at-risk student. Interested in about everything, but I love a good story.
This book is well written and performed as well as an excellent source of information. Most of us cannot remember a time when antibiotics weren't available or a time when many common childhood diseases could be fatal.
The book relates the early history of the discovery of antibiotics as well as the development of the protective services that keep Americans from using pharmacological items that are neither effective or safe.
An impressive history!
I'm glad I listened once, but I doubt I'd listen again. The story was relatively heavy on the minutiae of exploring for a new drug. So, interesting the first time, but I think it would be boring the second time. If I wanted to listen in this genre again, I'd look for something that covered more than the narrow slice of history of this one drug class.
Learning the intricacies of early efforts at drug development. These folks were geniuses to whom the civilized world owes a great debt. Hard to imagine what the world would be like today without a few of these pioneers.
Tries too hard. This author's habit of slowing down and/or emphasizing the last word in sentences got annoying. At times he sounded so much like an actor trying to sound professional that it made him come across as amateur. He was ultimately competent and listening was still pleasant, but I'm not a fan of this reader's annunciation style.
No. It's not a book that consistently leaves you desperately wanting to know what happens next.
The book was good, I do not regret listening to it, but it was not exceptional. The mix of science, general history, and specific history of the scientists was acceptable, but left me a bit confused at times. The author would jump around to different topics and people without obvious transitions, and I sometimes got confused by the many scientists and why or whether they would become important. I had an interest in the history of how early drugs were developed and this answered that nicely with one particular drug. I get the sense I missed out on other important developments happening in the pharma world at the same time.
Its in the top 7.
Might compare it with A Short History of Nearly Everything and Guns, Germs and Steel.
He adds humanity to all the technical jargon.
At times, but the information is very dense. So, you want to take it easy.
It was a pleasant surprise. It was a revelation to read about the transformation of modern medicine.