We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
The Demon Under The Microscope Audiobook

The Demon Under The Microscope

Regular Price:$18.00
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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

4.3 (2609 )
5 star
 (1315)
4 star
 (946)
3 star
 (274)
2 star
 (46)
1 star
 (28)
Overall
4.4 (1795 )
5 star
 (1014)
4 star
 (597)
3 star
 (139)
2 star
 (29)
1 star
 (16)
Story
4.4 (1796 )
5 star
 (927)
4 star
 (642)
3 star
 (175)
2 star
 (35)
1 star
 (17)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    igoriokas 06-21-10
    igoriokas 06-21-10 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    66
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "good to know"

    Very interesting and informative.
    Good narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rachel Yakima, WA, United States 04-17-10
    rachel Yakima, WA, United States 04-17-10 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    148
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    57
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Interesting and enjoyable listen"

    This book might have been too dense to read but I found listening to be enjoyable. I was a bit confused early on by the similar sounding names of the protagonists but continued listening because my hands were messy (I listen in my art studio) and soon the name confusion was a non-issue.
    The story is not exactly linear; it jumps between different times and different important figures in the development. I think this aspect of the structure of the story helped make it an interesting listen. It was interesting to start to piece together what was going on in different places. The author allowed the listener to start to make the connections on her own.
    I probably finished the book in 2 days.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Seattle, WA, United States 03-30-10
    Donald Seattle, WA, United States 03-30-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "Fascinating mix of science, politics, and society"

    One of my favorite non-fiction audiobooks. An absolute epic. The description of the book is spot on, if the description piques your interest, the book won't disappoint.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blashy Québec, Canada 12-10-09
    Blashy Québec, Canada 12-10-09 Member Since 2016

    Membre since March 2008.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    141
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    237
    36
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "One of my all time favorite books"

    Top 5 on my list of all time favorite books. If you like history and science this book is for you. Amazing to see how dedicated the men of science are at finding cures for humanity.

    Great history in it as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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
    430
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    120
    66
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    95
    0
    Overall
    "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
    39
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    "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
    20
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    58
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "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
    42
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    138
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "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

    needlewoman

    HELPFUL VOTES
    92
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    344
    63
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "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

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.