• Plagues, Pandemics and Viruses

  • From the Plague of Athens to COVID-19
  • By: Heather E. Quinlan
  • Narrated by: Samara Naeymi
  • Length: 14 hrs and 28 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

COVID-19 and the History of Pandemics and Epidemics

It can come in waves - like tidal waves. It changes societies. It disrupts life. It ends lives. As far back as 3000 B.C.E. (the Bronze Age), plagues have stricken mankind. COVID-19 is just the latest example, but history shows that life continues. It shows that knowledge and social cooperation can save lives. 

Viruses are neither alive nor dead and are the closest thing we have to zombies. Their only known function is to replicate themselves, which can have devastating consequences on their hosts. Most, but not all, bacteria are good for us. Some are truly horrific, including those that caused the bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic plagues. And viruses and bacteria are always morphing, evolving, and changing, making them hard to treat. Plagues, Pandemics and Viruses: From the Plague of Athens to COVID-19 is an enlightening, and sometimes frightening, recounting of the destruction wrought by disease, but it also looks at what humanity has done and can do to overcome even the deadliest and bleakest of contagions. 

This important book chronicles the history of plagues and pandemics, human resilience, and what we've learned from the past, including:   

  • The bubonic plague/black plague, which killed 30% to 60% of Europe's population 
  • The devastation to the indigenous population in the Americas 
  • How the 1918 Spanish Flu did not come from Spain 
  • How disease inspired The Canterbury Tales, Wuthering Heights, pop artist Keith Haring, and others 
  • AIDS patient zero 
  • The differences between COVID-19 and other coronaviruses 
  • How climate change will affect future pandemics 
  • The aftermath of various pandemics 
  • Several modern diseases making a comeback 
  • How to stop most epidemics before they can turn into pandemics 
  • The science of preventative measures and medical interventions 
  • An exclusive interview with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the NIAID and much, much more.
©2020 Heather E. Quinlan (P)2020 Recorded Books

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Somewhat elemental

I down loaded and listened to part of this. It received almost 5 star critique. And I don't wish to be a naysayer to such an extensive review - but: . It is detailed. And to the new and uninitiated, it may be informative. I am a physician and familiar with the content. And I find it elementary and therefore uninteresting. It is narrated like an encyclopedia and goes on and on. So if you have no knowledge of the subject, it is probably apropos. For something more is depth, suggest shopping another source.

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nice read

excellent narrator. more of a political theme than virus theme. book covers the black death and covid-19.

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  • Mazarine
  • 03-26-21

Already well read? This may not be enough...

A pleasant run through the history of pandemics with very occasional snippets that are new. The narrator had a confident and engaging manner, but her shocking pronunciation of foreign names is painful. This is made worse because the book talks about global history.

English is my mother tongue and I'm fluent in French. Almost every British place was mispronounced eg. The River 'Tames' as she says it, rather than 'Temz' as it should be pronounced.

As for the story of San Domingo, her pronunciation was so bad that it was comical. I played it to a French colleague who almost fell off her chair laughing. She agreed that it sounded as if someone was mocking her language.

Given that this is her career, a few simple checks with real French or British people would have left her professional credibility intact. As it stands, this reader found it sloppy and lazy.