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.
Reader And Listener
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes but it a little too long for that!
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.
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 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.
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"
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.
I am an avid reader of books, largely non-fiction, about diseases and epidemics especially in relation to history and how they impact society. I found Spillover to be and easily readable book for the average person, comprehensive and well researched. If the book succeeds in anything, and I believe it does, it's that we should be much more in tune with our human impact on environment, our role in disease spread, and prepared for the inevitable encounters with the next pandemic.
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.
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