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The Demon Under The Microscope Audiobook

The Demon Under The Microscope

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Publisher's Summary

The Nazis discovered it. The Allies won the war with it. It conquered diseases, changed laws, and single-handedly launched the era of antibiotics. This incredible discovery was sulfa, the first antibiotic medication. In The Demon Under the Microscope, Thomas Hager chronicles the dramatic history of the drug that shaped modern medicine.

Sulfa saved millions of lives, among them, Winston Churchill's and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr.'s, but its real effects have been even more far reaching. Sulfa changed the way new drugs were developed, approved, and sold. It transformed the way doctors treated patients. And it ushered in the era of modern medicine. The very concept that chemicals created in a lab could cure disease revolutionized medicine, taking it from the treatment of symptoms and discomfort to the eradication of the root cause of illness.

A strange and vibrant story, The Demon Under the Microscope illuminates the colorful characters, corporate strategy, individual idealism, careful planning, lucky breaks, cynicism, heroism, greed, hard work, and central (though mistaken) idea that brought sulfa to the world. This is a fascinating scientific tale with all the excitement and intrigue of a great suspense novel.

©2006 Thomas Hager; (P)2006 Tantor Media, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Highly entertaining." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Vince 10-16-09
    Vince 10-16-09
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "factual and informative on many fronts"

    Narration is great. Many facts about all the different people in all the different countries working on stopping bacterial infections. Great characterization of all the people. I like how many points are backed up by actual journal entries of the person being talked about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Moore Bay Area, CA USA 02-06-09
    Michael Moore Bay Area, CA USA 02-06-09 Member Since 2005

    mcubed33

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Curing the Incurable -- Great Story"

    Who would have guessed it was possible to build a fascinating history around chemical labs and medical pathologists? This book does all that and more. It added to my admiration and respect for my grandmothers (and their forebears) who faced the risk, among others, of mortal and incurable diseases every time they entered a hospital to deliver a baby. It made me realize how much we take for granted in modern medicine: the antibiotics that have erased the worries about pneumonia, TB, strep and other infections that were a life and death struggle as recently as the 1930's.

    The book fully explains the scientific history behind the discovery of the sulfa drugs by researchers at the Bayer firm in Germany. That took years of dedication and financial support, as well as some lucky hunches. The account keeps its interest by blending in personal stories of people who were cured by the new drugs (e.g., Franklin Roosevelt, Jr.) or otherwise impacted by them (e.g., the head of a "patent medicine" firm in Kentucky that quickly put out an elixir containing the drug that turned out to be poisonous).

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ana 10-23-08
    Ana 10-23-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "History at its best, and very well read"

    On first approach you wouldn't think that the history of the discovery of sulfa could be fascinating, but this book is absorbing, it is history at its best. You know how history has to be felt? How history should not be something we think about only at an intellectual level, but, something we experience at an emotional level? That's what this book allows us to do. And the great thing is it is not melodramatic, it is wonderfully done. I warmly recommend it.
    The reader is also great, he is now up there with Simon Vance and Stephen Briggs in my list.
    I have to say that I don't usually read non-fiction, but the book was on sale and the reviews were good and I was not disappointed one bit. Way to go Audible! =)

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie M. 09-27-08
    Debbie M. 09-27-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unexpectedly fascinating"

    I bought this book during Audible's summer $5.95 sale (I guess "sales" do work!) and was unexpectedly drawn into this far-ranging history of the discovery and development of sulfa drugs. The author does a terrific job of providing details about the personal lives of the characters so that they're three dimensional, and descriptions of the social/politic environment so that their scientific work is placed in a historical context. I would have given it five stars except that I really disliked the reader -- his overly-dramatic reading actually detracted from the book. I especially disliked how he draws out the final word of each sentence into a falling cadence, changing the final syllable of the final word into two syllables. (Sorry, can't describe it more exactly.) End result is that he continually sounds patronizing and bored.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samantha 08-24-08
    Samantha 08-24-08 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing"

    One of my all time favorite books. The author has masterfully humanized history with out taking liberties with the facts. The author makes complex concepts in science absolutly accessible to everyone and makes a story that will interest those who have little interest in biology and medicine. The narration is wonderful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cate F. Richmond, VA USA 08-21-08
    Cate F. Richmond, VA USA 08-21-08 Member Since 2007

    needlewoman

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too bad about the Reader"

    This fascinating book had a tendency to put me to sleep, thanks to the rather droning tone of the reader. It was worth sticking with it for the impressive and moving story of the discovery of the very first antibiotic - sulfa.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Portsmouth, VA, USA 08-15-08
    Julie Portsmouth, VA, USA 08-15-08
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "Not a light read!"

    Although the story is fascinating and I learned much about our history, it is very difficult to follow the plot through all the scientists and chemical formulations. This is emphasized because it is all prose and no dialogue. Still, if you can stay with it, it is worth the education.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DrAlexW 07-30-08
    DrAlexW 07-30-08
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    34
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    "Fascinating Science History"

    Written expertly and read with great energy, this audiobook is a fascinating retelling of the stories of genius, of caring, and of cunning in what was truly the genesis of modern medical practice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aryn 07-07-08
    Aryn 07-07-08
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    "Amazing!"

    The book is well written, easily listened to, and the author did his research in an amazingly succinct, humane, and understandable fashion. Learn while you enjoy - how great is that!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. 07-04-08
    E. 07-04-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
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    "horror, humanity, and human progress!!"

    Fantastic advances in medical treatment were a product of brilliant minds, tirelss dedication, twisted politics, cultural shifts, and happy accidents. Who knew? Everything we take for granted was both mindbogglingly simple and a long labor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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