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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

4.3 (2202 )
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  •  
    Rio Delta Wild Harlingen, TX 11-30-08
    Rio Delta Wild Harlingen, TX 11-30-08 Member Since 2004

    I enjoy mysteries, NOT thrillers, contemporary fiction, especially about diverse cultures, and sometimes history, if it doesn't involve too many dates. I often listen to a book multiple times, discovering unnoticed details in the retelling.

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    "cocky narrator grates on my nerves!"

    I'm very interested in the subject of this book, but I can't force myself to finish it. The narrator has an air of cockiness throughout, as though he's quite full of himself. Listening to him is like being stuck in class with someone I'd walk several blocks to avoid!

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 05-12-13
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 05-12-13 Member Since 2010

    audio addict! Mostly interested in history and some historical fiction. Will Durant is my all time favorite. Loving the Great Courses too.

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    "Outstanding!! Much more than I expected!"

    While the name of this book is catchy, I really don't believe it does the book justice.

    Devil Under the Microscope is a history of the first real advances in medicine in the 1930's. The story is better than fiction. One of the best nonfiction books I've read/listened to in many years! Could not put this down for a second.

    This author did an amazing job with the subject matter, and the narrator is perfect.

    Devil Under the Microscope gets my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!!

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer USA 06-10-16
    Amazon Customer USA 06-10-16 Member Since 2015
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    "An Enjoyable, Informative Book"

    I am a high school science teacher and found this book to be an incredibly fascinating read. I especially enjoyed how it walked the reader through various discovery processes. Sometimes discoveries happen through accident, sometimes they happen through diligence and thorough work, sometimes it can be after thousands of unfavorable outcomes, etc. It showed the importance of good record keeping and collaboration with other fields and scientists. I will definitely be using some examples from this book in class. One of the other features I enjoyed about this book was its side stories. I think it did an admirable job of making the reader see the scientists and individuals in the book not as static pieces of history, but as real, individual people. These stories accentuated the points the book was making, and prevented it from becoming dry. My only criticism is that the stories sometimes made me lose focus of the main point, so when the narrator got back to it, I sometimes had to pause it or relisten to certain bits in order to get back on track. That being said, I'm glad the excerpts were there. Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable book, and I'm very pleased with it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Acteon Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 12-03-13
    Acteon Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 12-03-13

    Acteon

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    "Thrilling and enlightening"
    If you could sum up The Demon Under The Microscope in three words, what would they be?

    Thrilling, informative, enlightening


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Dr. Gerhard Domagk, a model of the German scientist, who combined insight, persistence and courageSir Almroth Wright, who though wrong about the potential of chemical drugs had great insight in regard to medicine and the immune system: for his intelligence and individualistic temperament.


    What about Stephen Hoye’s performance did you like?

    He reads clearly and well, though a little on the slow side (I listened at 1.25 speed). His pronunciation of French and German names are occasionally faulty: in particular, the French city Boulogne came out sounding like 'Bouloin'(as in 'purloin'); and the Viennese doctor Ignaz Semmelweis came out sounding like Zimmelweis or sometimes Simmelweis. I repeat my recommendation that foreign names be spelt out the first time they appear: this would facilitate their recognition considerably (for even if the reader knew a foreign language perfectly, which can hardly be expected, the perfectly pronounced foreign name may still be incomprehensible to a listener who doesn't know the language). I decided nonetheless to give him five stars because in compensation he has a pleasant tenor voice that is ideal for understanding on my Bose bluetooth speaker (hence preferable to deeper voices).


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I wept when Dr.Klee (a relatively minor character) after making his way with great difficulty to Theresienstadt when his Jewish wife was sent there, found the camp liberated and had to trudge home in despair, only to find that she had managed to get home in disguise. Though this was surely one of the happiest stories of families in similar plight at that time, it brings home the horror of being in Nazi Germany. I was also very moved by Dr.Domagk's 1947 trip to Stockholm that was beset by endless difficulties, to finally receive the Nobel Prize he had been awarded eight years earlier and which the Nazis refused to allow (even subjecting him to arrest and harassment because of it). There is also the moment when the too cautious Dr.Colebrook's assistant providentially got contaminated by strep bacteria and chose imminent death forced him to administer the sulfa drug he still refused to try on humans (even though in Germany it had been successfully used); his speedy recovery led to trying it on seven women in the maternity ward who surely would otherwise have died, and from there to the drug being released.


    Any additional comments?

    The book made me aware of what it was like to live in the world before antibiotics (which only came into use in 1936). I could hardly stop listening, and would recommend the book to all, together with Thomas Hager's equally fascinating 'The Alchemy of Air'

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret 11-01-13
    Margaret 11-01-13
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    "Amazing story! How have we survived!"
    Would you listen to The Demon Under The Microscope again? Why?

    Yes! I'm planning to.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes. I still reference this book in conversation often. It sticks to the ribs.


    Any additional comments?

    Such an important book. So many "who knew?" moments.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer 10-22-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Great book!"
    Any additional comments?

    It just fascinates me, the work went into making one of the first anti-biotics. And we take those same drugs so much for granted in today's world. I have listened to this book twice now, and will listen to it again!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 09-25-13
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 09-25-13 Member Since 2015

    54 yrs, ,memb 12yrs,library -75%nonfic 10% fiction,15% classics. History, all sciences, bio, classics,diverse other interests.

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    "ONE OF THE GREAT SCIENCE READS"

    This was a very enjoyable popular science read, along the lines of Splended Solution or The Ghost Map. Admittedly I read it quite a while ago but I have-not forgotten the wow-cool factor that this book elicited.

    Sometimes it's hard ( or even impossible) to imagine certain subjects or titles could possibly be a great read.Personaly I don't know anyone who wouldn't roll their eyes at being given or shown this book- they are the losers, for having an open mind always enables life's treasures to get through AND be understood and appreciated.

    We certainly take drugs for granted and forget that not so long ago things as simple as a cut finger or a blister could quite possibly kill you if it got infected. Any infection was a possible death sentence before sulfa. This is the story of one of the greatest medical paradigm shifts in history,

    Thomas Hagar does a great job of conveying these 2 separate worlds (and separate worlds is not an exaggeration), before sulfa and after. And he tells the fascinating tale of the "sulfa bridge" which changed the world. If you enjoy great science history writing then this really should be on your list P.S. The narrations great.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne 08-15-13
    Anne 08-15-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Fascinating - History of Antibiotic Development"

    This book is well written and the search for antibiotics unfolds like a novel. The author brings the context to life - how some infections considered simple now (since they can be treated with antibiotics) were extremely serious or routinely fatal before such drugs existed. How the drugs were found, especially the testing protocols, was fascinating. The story is filled with familiar names, and for me it helped to link those individual names we know from science classes to a time and place. I really think that this would be a good book for a high school student or college student to provide a historical perspective on microbiology and chemistry.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas NAPERVILLE, IL, United States 07-03-13
    Thomas NAPERVILLE, IL, United States 07-03-13 Member Since 2016
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    "The history of medicine is fascinating-"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes- If you enjoy chemistry and medicine this book will be right up your ally-
    I enjoy the meshing of science and history-


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Not sure about a character- but the episodes about German drug engineering were fascinating-


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Not sure if there is a scene- sorry


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No extreme reaction-
    Enjoyed the book enough to listen to several chapters again and again-


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    budsmom Baltimore, MD 07-01-13
    budsmom Baltimore, MD 07-01-13

    Mystery Maven

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    "Fascinating!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it was one of the best books I've ever read. A fascinating read!


    What other book might you compare The Demon Under The Microscope to and why?

    The Great Influenza because of the medical information they contain, written in an easy to understand, descriptive way.


    What about Stephen Hoye’s performance did you like?

    He was great. All the characters seem real and it was easy to keep them straight.


    Any additional comments?

    I was amazed at the lack of medical care as we know it in the US. In a country that was one of the world's leaders in inventions and innovations in the late 1800's - 1930's, it was appalling how ignorant the so called physicians were about disease, infections, and how to treat them properly. So many people died unnecessarily due to lack of sanitation and proper medicine. I was shocked to find out that doctors used many of the same methods that were used during the Middle Ages! No medical schools in the US were regulated or accredited; no research was done for anything and a man (no woman) could become a doctor with as little as 2 years of training. Almost all medical discoveries happened in Europe, Germany/France mostly. Here is where the first discoveries of molecules to produce antibiotics and antibacterials happened. This book not only explains very scientific ideas clearly, and in a way for anyone to understand.
    This is the history of modern medicine as we know it today. It was not until 1937 that the first antibiotic was produced. The results amazed the world and changed the history of medicine. It is also the modern history of pharmacology. A fascinating read!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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