Whodathunk that a history book could keep one so enthralled? "The Demon Under the Microscope" tells a fascinating story that will not bore you, even though it actually happened. (Sorry ... I never liked history classes.) Those of us who grew up after the advent of antibiotics have no idea how microbes used to wreak deadly havoc on humans. This well-written book shows us how people suffered and died from diseases now completely curable ??? pneumonia, gangrene, and tuberculosis, for example ??? and how dedicated scientists gradually discovered the critters that caused those diseases, then concocted the chemical remedies to defeat them. Doing so required such painstaking, trial-and-error guesswork and such (usually) fruitless, discouraging experimentation, that one wonders how these investigators persisted. I recommend "The Demon Under the Microscope" to anyone interested in medicine, even if you don't like history.
The narrator was unbearable. He would have been perfect for a trashy romance novel with his breathless treatment of the of the material, but hardly appropriate for the discussion of gas gangrene and the conditions of field hospitals.
This book was extremely informative. Thomas Hager gives a detailed history while going into scientific detail. There were parts that seemed to drag on but overall I enjoyed it. The narrator was very well spoken and easy to listen to.
it could be because of my medical background that I found this book starting up a bit slow. However, it was fairly well developed and half way through I finally got wrapped up in the story and the characters. Nice and tidy wrap up also. well written overall.
Well written, fascinating and the narration was superb. I am a person of the medical professions and greatly appreciated this wonderful history lesson.
I really enjoyed this book. I only recently in the last few years have the time or inclination to read science/history non-fiction.
I liked the development of the players through time in the different parts they had to play in the search for chemical antibiotics.
My only complaint is that the narrative is not as linear as I might have expected. Perhaps that is a strength for a writer, but for me as a listener, I would rather have had some of the events presented in chronological context rather than moving back and forth in time in relating the smaller details to larger points.
The title is a bit misleading, because we see that this is not just about one doctor, but all the players - but with every good story, there are heroes - and this story has many notable contributors.
I wish this book would have been assigned in my college Microbiology class - maybe I would have liked it better. The story is quite interesting weaving the tale of sulfa's development with a keen historical prospective - WWI and WWII for example. I also very much enjoyed Mr. Hoye's narration (as I have in all of his audiobooks) - it is well paced, clear and captivating. My mind didn't wander listening so I didn't have to jump back as often. Well worth the credit!
This was a fantastic book. I am going to be entering into nursing school in the Spring and have been devouring any and all things medicine related. This book does not disappoint. Smoothly narrated by Stephen Hoye (quickly becoming one of my favorites for non-fiction) this book takes you on a roller coaster ride of the discovery of sulfa based drugs. In our world of modern medicine it is often forgotten that no too far in the past people died readily from what we consider common place ailments. This will be a book I listen to at least a few more times. I moved on to The Emperor of all Maladies and while I'm only about through the first section am enjoying too.
Hager is a wonderful story teller and this is indeed a fascinating story (read very well by Hoye). Several stories rather, woven together beautifully. I listened to the whole thing non-stop. I believe this book could appeal to those less inclined to non-fiction as well because it is quite exciting and doubles as a war novel in parts. I got very attached to the characters.Any history buff should read this book as well, because our modern perspective makes it difficult to imagine a world where a person could die resulting from a common blister or how modern warfare tactics in WWI and WWII changed the nature of wounds and casualties, killing so many more due to soil getting deep into soldier's wounds. Why were the allies and Hitler both so reluctant to use the first antibiotic (or at least drug with antibiotic effect)? The science is compelling as well. I had always wondered why Flemming had been so concerned about the dangers of the use of antiseptic on the battlefield. How could anti-septic be bad? How do aerobic and anaerobic germs work together to make wounds doubly dangerous? You also get to learn about the birth of the pharmaceutical industry an absolutely fascinating early pioneers of drug creation (not to mention some of the hucksters and snake oil salesmen, those they killed and laws that resulted). I could go on and on but I'm an awful writer so go listen to a good one and GET THIS BOOK!!!
This is a fascinating story of the invention of sulfa drugs. Surprisingly, strep infections were a huge killer throughout history up until the ‘30s. These drugs, along with penicillin are responsible for a significant increase in the average human lifespan.
It's been a year or more since I listened to this. I was really captivated and in conversations I was always talking about the interesting things I learned in this book. I'm sure I will read it again sometime.