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Spillover | [David Quammen]

Spillover

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (245 )
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4.4 (211 )
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Performance
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  •  
    L. M. Roberts Southern California 03-08-14
    L. M. Roberts Southern California 03-08-14 Member Since 2013

    Reader And Listener

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating, but not Riveting"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George 09-01-14
    George 09-01-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Book"
    Would you listen to Spillover again? Why?

    Not only would listen to Spillover again but I plan to do so within the next week. The reason I will listen again is that it contains excellent scientific information encapsulated in a very entertaining story.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Spillover?

    I frequently hike and hunt and I am concerned about Lyme Disease. I have read numerous explanations and discussions about the disease but nowhere did I find a description as clear and succinct as the information in this book. In fact the book completely changed my understanding of Lyme Disease.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The AIDS epidemic's beginning in the early 20th century. Especially the theory that early attempts to improve African population resistance to known diseases using hypodermic needle injection without modern sterilization may have been a key factor in accelerating the epidemic. The attempt to do something good may have had a bad outcome.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes but it a little too long for that!


    Any additional comments?

    I especially liked the way this book is organized. I frequently go back and listen to specific topics and this book is beautifully organized with many chapters which correspond to specific discussions making it easy to go back.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer COLLEGE PARK, MD, United States 05-11-14
    Amazon Customer COLLEGE PARK, MD, United States 05-11-14
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    "Good story with a few slow moments"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. J. Golden, CO USA 03-11-14
    L. J. Golden, CO USA 03-11-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Problems with pronunciation ..."
    What did you love best about Spillover?

    The work is fascinating, well researched, engagingly written and important.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    alan Petaluma, CA, United States 09-06-13
    alan Petaluma, CA, United States 09-06-13 Member Since 2002

    alan

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "fine book"

    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/

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Giri College Station, TX, United States 08-01-13
    Giri College Station, TX, United States 08-01-13
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    "Engaging, masterful and terrific"
    What did you love best about Spillover?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Spillover?

    The interlude of the imagined story of the voyager in the history of HIV. Gripping!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Spelunking into the bat caves in Uganda.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    "opportunity lurks in every bat"


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sable 05-22-13
    Sable 05-22-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Horrible narration"
    Would you be willing to try another one of Jonathan Yen’s performances?

    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.


    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tyler S 06-12-15
    Tyler S 06-12-15 Member Since 2015
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    Story
    "Wonderful, factual, and engaging"

    Excellent, detailed description of the ways in which various zoonotic pathogens afflict humans, and how scientists study them. As a scientist myself, I appreciated the details and was never bored, but at the same time I think it would be accessible to a wide audience--a difficult balance to strike, but one that David Quammen achieves again and again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mathgod Bay Area, CA 04-26-15
    Mathgod Bay Area, CA 04-26-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Let someone else pronounce the Latin"
    If you could sum up Spillover in three words, what would they be?

    Interesting, informative, intellectually challenging.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I had already read the book before but I think it was much easier to understand when you aren't spending so much time dealing with the scientific terms. Quammen makes science easier for regular folk to understand without "dumbing it down".


    Any additional comments?

    I wish Quammen's work "Song of the Dodo" was available also.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pablo Pittsburgh, PA, United States 04-05-15
    Pablo Pittsburgh, PA, United States 04-05-15 Member Since 2011
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    "interesting, dense, reading was dull"

    the topic is very interesting, but the author goes into extreme detail, too much detail for my taste, but interesting nonetheless. the weakest part of this audiobook is the reading. the reader has a very monotonous and almost robotic voice that when combined with the dense subject matter and book length, make it *very* easy to get distracted.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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