Really a remarkable book. Well written and very interesting delivery of information that could have been boring. Very thought provoking work about how the world changed after Columbus landed. The book touches on how disease shaped (mainly) the new world, how Spanish gold changed Europe and China (and the Philippines), new world crops fed (and the failed to feed) Europe, how those same crops changed food production in China, and how rubber is currently changing the far East. I will never think of history the same way. I can't say enough about this book. If you are at all interested in history, get it and listen now.
OK. This purports to be the story of the development of sulfa drugs. Boring, you say? That's what I thought. I purchased it on the strengths of the other reviews. And, glad I did. This is the most intriguing and interesting story I've read this year. Extremely well told and narrated.
It is actually the history of the treatment (or lack thereof) of bacterial infections over the years. I'll bet you didn't know Calvin Coolidge had a son who died because a blister on his foot got infected? Or that Doctors used phenols to treat a minor medical procedure on Queen Victoria? Or that the Nazis prevented the most brilliant scientists of their time from getting a Nobel prize?
At times I got a bit confused when the author backed up to explain some historical or preceding event. I rather think that had more to do with the fact that this is an audio book and you need to pay careful attention.
Overall, though, I really must give this story my highest ratings and would recommend it to the layman and scientist alike.
Gonzalez-Crussi's book (and McDonough's narration) made me want to pour gasoline on my head. It is a boring jumble of historical facts with no apparent organization. It was so bad that I stopped listening to it after about 3 hours. Instead, I urge you to listen to Thomas Hager's very excellent book entitled "The Demon under the Microscope". It is a story of the history of infection and the advent of sulfa drugs as a cure.
Lots of information, but the authors digress constantly. The irrelevant details get in the way of understanding the big picture. Also, the audio book is poorly edited. Several sections have 10-15 seconds of repeated text. Summary: a very interesting subject, but the editor should be fired.
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