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Publisher's Summary

Ever since the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, scientists have dreamed of preventing catastrophic outbreaks of infectious disease. Yet despite a century of medical progress, viral and bacterial disasters continue to take us by surprise, inciting panic and dominating news cycles. From the Spanish flu to the 1924 outbreak of pneumonic plague in Los Angeles to the 1930 "parrot fever" pandemic, through the more recent SARS, Ebola, and Zika epidemics, the last one hundred years have been marked by a succession of unanticipated pandemic alarms. 

In The Pandemic Century, a lively account of scares both infamous and less known, Mark Honigsbaum combines reportage with the history of science and medical sociology to artfully reconstruct epidemiological mysteries and the ecology of infectious diseases. We meet dedicated disease detectives, obstructive or incompetent public health officials, and brilliant scientists often blinded by their own knowledge of bacteria and viruses. Like man-eating sharks, predatory pathogens are always present in nature, waiting to strike; when one is seemingly vanquished, others appear in its place. These pandemics remind us of the limits of scientific knowledge, as well as the role that human behavior and technologies play in the emergence and spread of microbial diseases.

©2019 Mark Honigsbaum (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Pandemic Century

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Pretty good

Its strength is detailing each outbreak, local story and circumstances.

It should have covered the Asian Flu of '57 and Hong Kong Flu of '68.

7 people found this helpful

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What the timing of the book

If you want to understand how pandemic spread, you must read this book. The book highlights how under funded our public health systems are.This book also explains how there are so many conspiracy theory is when a pandemic happens. This couldn’t be published at a better time than this.

3 people found this helpful

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Relevant book for today

As a microbiologist I enjoyed the book and found it scientifically sound. I was acquainted with most of the outbreaks discussed, but not psittacosis. I still picked up bits if information I had not heard before. written for the layperson in an interesting and informative manner. I hope someday the author adds information about COVID-19. I highly recommend this book.

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So so

Too many off the topic inclusions for me. Some good facts but please keep to the point (who cares who knew who or what they ate in France when people needed to be solving the problems at hand),This book cold be whittled down to 10hrs of good listening with a good editor.

2 people found this helpful

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The century group plagues for 21st people

Enjoyed the audio book and reminds me of why we need to focus as a race on the health of the entire human race

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Pretty good but too political.

This book was pretty good, but the author let his politics get in the way too much. He was quite eager to bash Reagan, Bush, and Trump, but lavished praise on Obama. He also gave a one sided perspective on the use of ZMapp during the 2014 outbreak of Ebola. This takes away from the book unfortunately.

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Terrifying Timing On This One-

Never mind that the book outlines fascinating science and the history of pandemics in relative times- The book seems like it was written for this time RIGHT NOW !
Not only are the main characters involved in COVID-19 a part of the story the meticulousness of the story applied to HIV/AIDS reminded me that I have been though more than my fair share of pandemics filled with bad decisions and paranoia-
So good that I purchased two printed copies: One to annotate to share with my students; One to give to my physician.