This is an amazing story. In hard copy I'd call it a page turner. I often found myself annoyed that I had arrived at work and would have to wait for my commute home to continue the story.
The diligence and perseverance of the scientists searching for a cure for bacterial infections is humbling. The fact that the German dye companies didn't realize for several years that sulfa was the dog rather than the tail in their complicated dye-based formulations is a classic example of myopia. And the story of how the FDA came into existence due to the excesses of the patent drug makers is something few people know.
However, this story is not only interesting; it is very relevant to today's world. With more and more bacteria developing immunity to our miracle drugs, it is sobering to remember that we may be heading back to a time when people routinely died from an infected wound or a tooth abscess. The stories of the pre-sulfa world should give us pause.
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
of how a miracle of modern medicine made an age in which something like scarlet fever, bronchitis or a deep cut could prove fatal into a curious and quaint bit of past, a fuzzy far-away time that most children today could barely conceive of--and, from a medical point of view, thank God they cannot.
Yes. this book was very well written and kept me interested all the way to the end.
I want to listen to his next book about Nitrogen
The break through with the dyes and how they we on the wrong track and accidentally discovered the solution.
I liked the intrigue about how the drug was mixed with the wrong chemical that caused the deaths, and the strengthening of the FDA
I liked the narrator allot and really got into this story.
"The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why" Mark Twain
I was hesitant to use my credit on this book. I enjoy history, and in particular, war history, and was surprised to find ample amounts of both in this book. Most of us born in the latter half of the 20th century don't often consider the fact that, not many years ago, a common bacterial infection could be life threatening. Consider the soldier in WWI who received a small shrapnel wound that ends in infection, and ultimately death. NO DRUG existed that could address bacterial infection. The common medical prescription was fluids and rest. A simple sinus infection could have been lethal. In other words, it is hard to imagine the impact a few determined scientists had on humanity when they discovered a way to fight bacterial infection.
Thomas Hager does justice to these determined men and women in this wonderful book. I highly recommend this book to anyone. The narration is great, and the story is phenomenal.
Excellent blend of Medicine, Science and History. Narrator was perfect for this text. This book details the history of sulfa drug development focusing in detail labratory trials, impact on medicine (especailly on the battlefield)and the many chemists, doctors, politicians and patients involved along the way. There is a nice balance between the technical story and the personalities involved.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
In their zeal to promote a book, publishers have a tendency to sensationalize and exaggerate. Sometimes, they just do not get the facts correct. The publisher summary of Demon Under the Microscope begins with “The Nazis discovered it.” The Nazis did not discover sulfa drugs nor did the Allies win the war with it. My god, the summary writer must not have even read this book because it does not communicate that at all. A German scientist and his team discovered sulfa drugs and not all Germans were Nazis. Gerhard Johannes Paul Domagk received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for this discovery, the first drug effective against bacterial infections. He was forced by the Nazi regime to refuse the prize and was actually arrested and imprisoned by the Gestapo. The book does not suggest Domagk was a Nazi sympathizer, on the contrary.
That aside, this was an excellent book. As has been the case in the past, as a biologist, it is difficult for me to know whether a book like this would appeal to the masses. At times it is a bit scientifically detailed. Having worked in research, I think that the book does an outstanding job of portraying the very sometimes tedious work that can go into such an endeavor. The book does not just state that it took years to accomplish something, it takes you through the years, step by step by agonizing step. Not as much agonizing for the reader but the reader definitely gets a sense of the agony of the researcher.
The book is well researched and narrated. It is fraught with sidebars about disease and its treatment throughout history as well as what was happening in other parts of the world contemporarily. If disease and its treatment or the process of research is your interest, I would highly recommend this book.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
As dull and technical as the subject of medical research might be to the average person, this book successfully makes an interesting, gripping story out of it. Conflicted people, torn families, huge puzzles to be solved, a miracle drug, a fall from grace, and Nazis.
What's there not to love?
This book is not written just for chemists or physicians. It is written in layman's terms and the author simply tells a story. It's more like a novel than a history book. It is a fascinating look at what can only be described as a world spanning saga of the invention of the first antibiotics. The author looks not only at the main characters in the search for a miracle cure for bacteriological infection, but shows it all in the context of the world that we all live in. I really like nonfiction that reads like a novel because I learn so much along the way. I am not a scientist, but I can appreciate the scientific method much more now after this book. The narrator did a superb job and was not dull in the least. If you like nonfiction that really is stranger and more unbelievable than fiction, this book is for you! If you have a friend who is a chemist or physician, then you have a perfect gift!