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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 (2281 )
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  •  
    E. 07-04-08
    E. 07-04-08
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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
  •  
    Crystal Sarasota, FL, USA 06-09-08
    Crystal Sarasota, FL, USA 06-09-08
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    "Good content, audio quality less than excellent"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Micheal Fasulo 03-30-08 Member Since 2014
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    "Superb book!"

    Excellent listen! highly recommended favorite audiobook on this site to date!

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison Austin, TX, United States 01-24-12
    Alison Austin, TX, United States 01-24-12 Member Since 2010

    Miss Construed

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    "Ugh! I'll have to read it...:("

    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.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina Harlingen, TX, United States 11-30-08
    Christina Harlingen, TX, United States 11-30-08 Member Since 2004

    I study native plants, do revegetation projects, edit a newsletter, keep databases for clubs I belong to, and photograph (mostly plants).

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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
  •  
    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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