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 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"
I am obsessed with learning. Either about history of society, epidemiology or spirituality. I would say I'm a seeker.
For me it is a matter of convenience. I like highlighting things in a written book but I can listen to the audio during long commutes.
Rabies and Asleep
I have not
At certain times I was horrified but with a book like this if you're not horrified they're doing it wrong. Really well written, a story line that flows and keeps you captivated!
I would recommend this to people who have an interest in the subject matter of epidemiology. I don't think everyone would find this interesting but if this subject matter is a passion or hobby of yours, it doesn't get any better than this book.
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.
It is one of the best overviews of zoonotic diseases – – if not the best in print and in audio. Just like reading a crime thriller – – except it's real.
We Hang by a Thread
So you Think You're Safe
I can't wait for his next book. I know that he wrote one on ebola but I believe this is just a bit of a rehash of what's in this book. I'm not absolutely sure about this I'm just going by what other commenters mentioned-- and what I could see you online.
Spillover covers Zoonosis, or the process where a disease move from an animal to humans. This book covers a broad range of zoonosis including SARS, Ebola, AIDS, lyme, influenza including the history of each disease in humans.
The topic seemed like it would be scary, overwhelming, or both. Instead the pace of the book is quick with many interesting interwoven stories. I really enjoyed the getting the historical context of each disease's discovery, making you feel like you were right there seeing it happen.
The content is informative and unbiased, giving many insights about the various diseases. At times, the author takes a big picture view while including enough details to make you care about the researchers, patients, animals, and general public. It tells you why the diseases matter without scaring you about the future of mankind.
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