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The Demon Under The Microscope Audiobook

The Demon Under The Microscope

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Publisher's Summary

The Nazis discovered it. The Allies won the war with it. It conquered diseases, changed laws, and single-handedly launched the era of antibiotics. This incredible discovery was sulfa, the first antibiotic medication. In The Demon Under the Microscope, Thomas Hager chronicles the dramatic history of the drug that shaped modern medicine.

Sulfa saved millions of lives, among them, Winston Churchill's and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr.'s, but its real effects have been even more far reaching. Sulfa changed the way new drugs were developed, approved, and sold. It transformed the way doctors treated patients. And it ushered in the era of modern medicine. The very concept that chemicals created in a lab could cure disease revolutionized medicine, taking it from the treatment of symptoms and discomfort to the eradication of the root cause of illness.

A strange and vibrant story, The Demon Under the Microscope illuminates the colorful characters, corporate strategy, individual idealism, careful planning, lucky breaks, cynicism, heroism, greed, hard work, and central (though mistaken) idea that brought sulfa to the world. This is a fascinating scientific tale with all the excitement and intrigue of a great suspense novel.

©2006 Thomas Hager; (P)2006 Tantor Media, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Highly entertaining." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    peter Pound Ridge, NY United States 03-06-09
    peter Pound Ridge, NY United States 03-06-09
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    "Fascinating for the Science Buff"

    Thomas Hager has done extensive, detailed research and written his story in a concise style which makes him easy to follow. His characters are alive; the life of the scientist well described. I know of no other book which covers this subject matter; the development of the most commonly used medicines and some insight as to what life was like before this became available. Its relevance is brought to life by stories of two US Presidents' sons who became sick: one lived; one died. Absorbing detail in both cases.

    Is it for everyone? Probably not. History buffs, science minded enthusiasts, medical students: I used it for some marvelous facts concerning the discovery of bacteria which parallels what is happening today in nanoscience. I can put that in PowerPoint in a second.

    I have one comment for Audible, if they can do anything about it. The reader has a wonderful voice tone, speaks clearly and at the perfect speed for me. However, he has the annoying habit of dropping his tone at the end of just about every sentence or phrase, giving emphasis to the word in a way that lends sad reflection. Have you any idea how irritating this can be? I rather think it might be the same reader as ruined 'Slaughterhouse 5' for me, although the effect was a lot less intrusive in this book than there.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas 05-05-13
    Douglas 05-05-13 Member Since 2008
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    "A Dynamic, Remarkably Well-Written Account..."

    of how a miracle of modern medicine made an age in which something like scarlet fever, bronchitis or a deep cut could prove fatal into a curious and quaint bit of past, a fuzzy far-away time that most children today could barely conceive of--and, from a medical point of view, thank God they cannot.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sylvia CULLMAN, AL, United States 09-11-16
    Sylvia CULLMAN, AL, United States 09-11-16 Member Since 2016
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    "So, what's so good about antibiotics?!?"
    If you could sum up The Demon Under The Microscope in three words, what would they be?

    Astounding must-read history!


    What about Stephen Hoye’s performance did you like?

    Almost sounded like he was the author! He was very engaged in the topic! His narration (and the content of the book) will suit scientists and laymen equally.


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

    Yes! And I re-listened to many parts. Although I have studied this stuff in the past, it never hit me, till I listened to this audiobook, just how many, many, many people used to die from simple things that can happen to anyone any day. It helped me appreciate antibiotics as never before. I no longer take antibiotics for-granted.


    Any additional comments?

    I posted this on Facebook about an article that explained vaccines and why they are a good choice."If anyone wants/needs to understand why we do vaccinations compared to pre-vaccination history (and the thousands and tens of thousands of people who died EVERY year from things about which we, today, no longer need to worry,) read or listen to this very fascinating book. While its main topic is antibiotics, it explains why we need things like antibiotics and vaccines to cure/prevent diseases. I have a degree in biology and have read extensively in the field and about it. But this book taught me history I had never before known or appreciated. As a parent, grandparent, and responsible member of society, I was very happy to be so much better informed."

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell Bernard Salt Lake City, Utah United States 05-13-15
    Russell Bernard Salt Lake City, Utah United States 05-13-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Enthralling story of the invention of antibiotics"
    Would you listen to The Demon Under The Microscope again? Why?

    Yes. this book was very well written and kept me interested all the way to the end.
    I want to listen to his next book about Nitrogen


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The break through with the dyes and how they we on the wrong track and accidentally discovered the solution.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I liked the intrigue about how the drug was mixed with the wrong chemical that caused the deaths, and the strengthening of the FDA


    Any additional comments?

    I liked the narrator allot and really got into this story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rosalinda 04-17-15
    Rosalinda 04-17-15
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    "So interesting"

    This is really a very good book . It surpassed my expectations. I am going to listen to it again . The narrator has a good voice

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt 03-21-15
    Matt 03-21-15
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    "Spectacular story and narration"

    This is beyond expectation, a thriller and informer. An enthralling experience, and narrated with the flair of a old time radio host. Buy it and learn.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Logan, Utah 02-21-13
    Ryan Logan, Utah 02-21-13
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    "Proof one person can change the world"
    Any additional comments?

    I was hesitant to use my credit on this book. I enjoy history, and in particular, war history, and was surprised to find ample amounts of both in this book. Most of us born in the latter half of the 20th century don't often consider the fact that, not many years ago, a common bacterial infection could be life threatening. Consider the soldier in WWI who received a small shrapnel wound that ends in infection, and ultimately death. NO DRUG existed that could address bacterial infection. The common medical prescription was fluids and rest. A simple sinus infection could have been lethal. In other words, it is hard to imagine the impact a few determined scientists had on humanity when they discovered a way to fight bacterial infection.

    Thomas Hager does justice to these determined men and women in this wonderful book. I highly recommend this book to anyone. The narration is great, and the story is phenomenal.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Evelyn Richmond, VA, USA 01-10-09
    Evelyn Richmond, VA, USA 01-10-09 Member Since 2005
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    "Captivating History"

    Excellent blend of Medicine, Science and History. Narrator was perfect for this text. This book details the history of sulfa drug development focusing in detail labratory trials, impact on medicine (especailly on the battlefield)and the many chemists, doctors, politicians and patients involved along the way. There is a nice balance between the technical story and the personalities involved.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 12-01-11
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 12-01-11 Member Since 2016
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    "An excellent read"

    In their zeal to promote a book, publishers have a tendency to sensationalize and exaggerate. Sometimes, they just do not get the facts correct. The publisher summary of Demon Under the Microscope begins with “The Nazis discovered it.” The Nazis did not discover sulfa drugs nor did the Allies win the war with it. My god, the summary writer must not have even read this book because it does not communicate that at all. A German scientist and his team discovered sulfa drugs and not all Germans were Nazis. Gerhard Johannes Paul Domagk received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for this discovery, the first drug effective against bacterial infections. He was forced by the Nazi regime to refuse the prize and was actually arrested and imprisoned by the Gestapo. The book does not suggest Domagk was a Nazi sympathizer, on the contrary.

    That aside, this was an excellent book. As has been the case in the past, as a biologist, it is difficult for me to know whether a book like this would appeal to the masses. At times it is a bit scientifically detailed. Having worked in research, I think that the book does an outstanding job of portraying the very sometimes tedious work that can go into such an endeavor. The book does not just state that it took years to accomplish something, it takes you through the years, step by step by agonizing step. Not as much agonizing for the reader but the reader definitely gets a sense of the agony of the researcher.

    The book is well researched and narrated. It is fraught with sidebars about disease and its treatment throughout history as well as what was happening in other parts of the world contemporarily. If disease and its treatment or the process of research is your interest, I would highly recommend this book.

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Calliope 10-02-16
    Calliope 10-02-16
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    "Great book of history, medicine, and health"

    This is a very interesting and well-told story about something so common most people take it for granted -- antibiotics. But it's more than just the story of how the first medicine to fight bacterial infections was discovered, it's also the story of what life was like before antibiotics, how the Nazi's affected the development of medicine, and how even national boundaries affected what and how drugs were used around the world.

    And it's written so well; it flows nicely and holds the readers' attention well.

    There's a lot of dovetailing with Hager's "The Alchemy of Air" (also excellent, but with better narration), in that it occurs after that book but also involves the talented and innovative work of the men at Bayer in the early 20th century.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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