A masterpiece of science reporting that tracks the animal origins of emerging human diseases.
The emergence of strange new diseases is a frightening problem that seems to be getting worse. In this age of speedy travel, it threatens a worldwide pandemic. We hear news reports of Ebola, SARS, AIDS, and something called Hendra killing horses and people in Australia - but those reports miss the big truth that such phenomena are part of a single pattern. The bugs that transmit these diseases share one thing: they originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. David Quammen tracks this subject around the world. He recounts adventures in the field - netting bats in China, trapping monkeys in Bangladesh, stalking gorillas in the Congo - with the world’s leading disease scientists. In Spillover, Quammen takes the listener along on this astonishing quest to learn how, where from, and why these diseases emerge, and he asks the terrifying question: What might the next big one be?
©2012 David Quammen (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
The work is fascinating, well researched, engagingly written and important.
As a trained zoologist and French speaker, the narrator's disastrous pronunciation of technical terms, scientific names and words in French was incredibly distracting. 'Phylogetics' instead of 'phylogenetics' was particularly grating, and the French phrases were so badly garbled as to be incomprehensible. Otherwise, I would strongly recommend this audiobook.
The stories are well told, the theme carries through, and even though much of it is very dry material, it's easy enough to follow. Extremely distracting is the narrator's mispromunciation of numerous scientific words. He's actually a good reader, sounding confident and articulate... then he comes to a work he doesn't know and instead of learning how to say it, just plunges ahead repeatedly saying things like "zoe-ON-a-sis" for zoonosis, and "uh-SAY" for assay - to name a couple of the more annoying examples. This isn't a case of British vs American pronunciation, either, just an actor who should have been coached better.
A great overview of the history of modern cross-over viruses from animals to humans w/ a smattering of bacteria. Mostly, it's a great read, but there is a section of the history of HIV that gets ridiculously long.
The content of the book is interesting, but the narration is so painfully boring that I'm about to delete the book and I'm not even one third of the way finished yet. If this man's voice were a drug, it would most definitely be Valium.
Do yourself a favor and buy this in paperback instead.
excellent important book and the narrator fits the book quite well---until he comes to pronounce Chinese names----he did fine in " other parts of the world" --- why didn't his director help him pronounce Chinese city names/
it really makes one go ouch when listening/
but a fine book nevertheless/
The selection of stories, the development of context in each case and the scholarship required to produce this volume. On top of that the prose is outstanding. I have read three other of Quammen's books and I have been just as interested in all the topics of his other books, but this easy equals and possibly exceeds his other works.
The interlude of the imagined story of the voyager in the history of HIV. Gripping!
Spelunking into the bat caves in Uganda.
"opportunity lurks in every bat"
I enjoyed this book minus the author's view on God and politics. I bought the book for the factual content of the science, not his liberal views on humanity, politics and God. There are some very blunt comments in the book that I could definitely do without. Most likely, I won't get another title from this author again unless it's something similar, meaning I find the science of viruses extremely interesting, which made the book worth my time.
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