Peter Jahrling, the top scientist at USAMRIID, has ORCON security clearance that gives him access to top-secret information of bioweapons. His most urgent priority is to develop a drug that will take on smallpox - and win. Eradicated from the planet in 1979, the smallpox virus now resides, officially, in only two high-security freezers - at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, and in Siberia, at a Russian virology institute called Vector. But the demon in the freezer has been set loose. It is almost certain that illegal stocks are in the possession of hostile states, including Iraq and North Korea. Jahrling is haunted by the thought that biologists in secret labs are using genetic engineering to create a new superpox virus, a smallpox resistant to all vaccines.
USAMRIID went into a state of Delta Alert on September 11 and activated its emergency response teams when the first anthrax letters were opened in New York and Washington, D.C. Preston reports, in unprecedented detail, on the government's response to the attacks and takes us into the ongoing FBI investigation. His story is based on interviews with top-level FBI agents and with Dr. Steven Hatfill.
©2002 Richard Preston; (P)2002 Books on Tape, Inc.
"This book will give you nightmares. Preston...turns a story about science and medicine into a theme-park ride of a thriller." (The New York Times)
"As exciting as the best thrillers, yet scarier by far, for Preston's pages deal with clear, present and very real dangers." (Publishers Weekly)
An autopsy of an inhalation anthrax victim.
The reader gave accents to different characters, which was very distracting. The Australian accent was particularly egregious, and the CDC scientist from the South sounded a bit like Gomer Pyle.
It made me concerned about the availability of the smallpox genome sequence in public databases!
This story is terrifying, intense, suspenseful, and dramatic. And it is true. The author has taken interviews, and public documents and sewn together a fantastic story of the eradication of smallpox and the 2001 Anthrax attack and connected them using the real peoples life stories to bring it all together.
I like dramatized history, and scientific stories like the Disappearing Spoon, and this fits right in. Reads like a summer blockbuster movie, but historically real.
The narrator does a great job telling that story with minimal accents, and dramatic interpretations. Very good voice inflection, and enthusiasm.
It is a fairly good story but has some very boring moments made even more boring by the terrible performance. I wanted to pull my hair out when it listed literally dozens of pox viruses by animal type.
Not really, smallpox is very dangerous and scary but we know there was no biological attack using it so we won't be surprised.
No, unless it is an amazing story and book and it is the only option.
It is scary to think about the possibility of literally thousands of gallons of smallpox laying around somewhere waiting to cause global anarchy.
The narrator attempts to do english accents which he accomplishes fairly well, but his take on Russian accents is comical. There is no reason to do accents with a book like this. He is very monotone and boring. I would recommend reading the book rather than listening to it.
An accountant who listens to audiobooks while working on spreadsheets.
It touched so many different topics. While The Hot Zone focused almost solely on Ebola, this book touched a variety of viruses but they were all tied together. You got the backstory on the smallpox eradication efforts, the gruesome effects of the disease most of us have never seen, how the smallpox vaccination team got started in the field and pulled into the research held at the CDC in Atlanta and the story of the first bioterrorist attack on the United States right after 9/11. Very well written (as always) and enjoyable. The narrator did a wonderful job, his use of accents not detracting from the story but helping you genuinely get a feel for the person talking.
It did from the viewpoint that even though I know smallpox hasn't gotten out, I kept waiting for some catastrophe to occur. Any time you're dealing with a level 4 virus, a person can never be too careful. Add in long days inside a spacesuit conducting necropsies with very sharp scalpels, drugging monkeys who have not had their very sharp canines filed and drawing infected blood from those same monkeys with sharp needles and you have the recipe for potential disaster. Preston is able to give the feeling of constant threat without going overboard or sacrificing truth.
This book will keep you up at night.
This book underscores one of the potentially world-altering scenarios - biological warfare. Along the lines of Charlie Wilson's War - this is a situation where earth shaking events have occurred, but few people realize or understand. It highlights that there really are bad people out there. Those without scruples that would do harm to everyone and anyone to further their cause.
As a scientist, I found the book to be informative and technically precise. The author did a good job with proper pronunciation of technical terms. I appreciate the fact that the author seems to have gone to some length not to divulge too much information about the security practices that the US has in place to secure the exotic viruses it has for research purposes.
This contrasts with some other books that almost give a blueprint of how to get in where you shouldn't and the types of security measures that are in place.
There are times the story becomes less than smooth - especially some of the transitions between topics. There are a few editing issues, where a sentence or two is repeated, especially around the chapter markings.
Overall, a very worthy read.
Lover of Jesus and all things books!
Would recommend this book to anyone wanting to understand infectious diseases and bio-terrorism better.
Compelling narration by Boehner.
If there was more of a story. I felt like I was reading facts from a textbook, or, I should write, I felt as though I were reading a textbook where the author was trying to make boring material more interesting. I work at NIH, so maybe I am starting to get science overload.
No, I read,
The performance was okay, just kind of droned on.... Mr. Boehmer has read other books, and I have enjoyed those performances, I think this one was a bit of a dud.
Yes, the facts were there - data about, and descriptions of different types of communicative diseases. I couldn't stick with the book through the end, though.
This book just seemed like a contract filler to me, or someone's good idea not properly thought out. Maybe the publisher had the author commit to another book after the first one did so well and there just wasn't enough juice to keep it up to an interesting level. If you're looking for information about contagious illnesses, viruses in particular, how they're handled in the lab and field, how the scientists look for natural sources (vectors) of disease, then this is the book for you. If you're looking for more of a STORY with progression from beginning to middle to end, then forget it.
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