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.
"Highly entertaining." (Publishers Weekly)
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.
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.
Omnivorous reader since childhood with a love of intelligent, well written books, whether fiction or nonfiction.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
This book was captivating, although the audiio quality was inferior at times. It was as if the recording was produced in an echo chamber! The author deserves a second recording of his work. As far as the topic is concerned, this book was superior. If you want a detailed yet interesting accounting of the history (complete with irony) of the discovery of antibiotics...this book is for you.
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.
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