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Publisher's Summary

"A frightening and fascinating masterpiece of science reporting that reads like a detective story." - Walter Isaacson

In 1976 a deadly virus emerged from the Congo forest. As swiftly as it came, it disappeared, leaving no trace. Over the four decades since, Ebola has emerged sporadically, each time to devastating effect. It can kill up to 90 percent of its victims. In between these outbreaks, it is untraceable, hiding deep in the jungle. The search is on to find Ebola's elusive host animal. And until we find it, Ebola will continue to strike. Acclaimed science writer and explorer David Quammen first came near the virus while he was traveling in the jungles of Gabon, accompanied by local men whose village had been devastated by a recent outbreak. Here he tells the story of Ebola - its past, present, and its unknowable future.

Extracted from Spillover by David Quammen, updated and with additional material.

©2014, 2012 David Quammen (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Concentrated and accessible

Quammen remains a science writer par excellence when covering pandemics and zoonosis. His Spillover remains a masterpiece, covering a wide range of diseases that jump from animals to humans, examining the paths they take, how the diseases evolve and how they impact humans and animals alike, and the scientists and medical professionals who study and combat such diseases.

In Ebola (published 2014), Quammen has excerpted the portion of Spillover (originally published in 2012) dealing with Ebola, and updated it with information and events from the intervening years. Namely, this iteration was written in the throes of the 2014 Ebola outbreak (or, more accurately, the 2013 outbreak that managed to spread internationally in 2014). In it, he covers what is known of Ebola, and also what frustratingly remains hidden, including the reservoir species that houses Ebola when it isn't crossing over into primates (from gorillas and chimps, to humans). As he does in Spillover, in this slim volume he spends a great deal of time and thought to the impact this disease has on animals, rather than only caring about the human costs.

All in all, an excellent summing up of the history of Ebola, and what we know and what we still have to learn. Even better, for those who have yet to read Spillover, this provides entrée into Quammen's work and should whet the appetite for more.

My only complaint, and it is a small one, is that the narrator does not seem to be aware that USAMRIID is generally pronounced yoo-sam-rid.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very informative

Interesting and very clearly written. The back story is worthwhile on it's own.
If Ebola evolves to not kill the host so fast, we are in trouble.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good book. It was very informative and descriptive.

This book is educational and very interesting. It answers the question of how and when Ebola started and how it spreads

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David Quammen + Science = The best time ever!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, and I have. And I will. This book is for the ones that like science, adventure and mystery. It tracks down the causes of Ebola and how it may have spilled over in the human population. I can also wholeheartedly recommend this book to people that are into conspiracy theories, because even though the author follows a natural event, it seems like nature and evolution are conspiring against the human race, haha. All jokes aside, I would recommend it because it lays out a fascinating story of how ebola travels, it's mechanisms of infection and what are we doing as human species to combat it. Also, it reads like a mystery novel - the more you read the more questions you have.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ebola?

There was too many to count. But if you thought that 2014 is the first time Ebola was on US soil, think again. I will say no more.

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

Yes. And I did.

Any additional comments?

I also found out that Ebola was a part of original book that tracks the events of spillover of viruses and diseases from the animal kingdom to humans called Spillover. I read that book and I would recommend it as a step further in Quammens writings.

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Content is almost verbatim in "Spillover"

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, it was a well-researched nonfiction book with an interesting premise and lively, journalistic storytelling.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ebola?

Realizing that it was contained almost verbatim in "Spillover", and regretting that I ended up listening to "Ebola" first. I ended up listening to the ~4 hours of content twice.

What about Mel Foster’s performance did you like?

Not too dramatic but also not a drone.

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

Yes.

Any additional comments?

If you think that you might like to read "Spillover", just buy that and don't waste your time with this book. However, if you really just want to learn about Ebola virus, read this one, and not "Spillover".