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  • Viruses, Plagues, and History

  • Past, Present, and Future
  • By: Michael B. A. Oldstone
  • Narrated by: L.J. Ganser
  • Length: 13 hrs and 38 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Viruses, Plagues, and History

By: Michael B. A. Oldstone
Narrated by: L.J. Ganser
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Summary

The story of viruses and humanity is a story of fear and ignorance, of grief and heartbreak, and of great bravery and sacrifice. Michael Oldstone tells all these stories as he illuminates the history of the devastating diseases that have tormented humanity, focusing mostly on the most famous viruses.

Oldstone begins with smallpox, polio, and measles. Nearly 300 million people were killed by smallpox in this century alone and the author presents a vivid account of the long campaign to eradicate this lethal killer. Oldstone then describes the fascinating viruses that have captured headlines in more recent years: Ebola, Hantavirus, mad cow disease (a frightening illness made worse by government mishandling and secrecy), and, of course, AIDS. And he tells us of the many scientists watching and waiting even now for the next great plague, monitoring influenza strains to see whether the deadly variant from 1918 - a viral strain that killed over 20 million people in 1918-1919 - will make a comeback. For this revised edition, Oldstone includes discussions of new viruses like SARS, bird flu, virally caused cancers, chronic wasting disease, and West Nile.

Viruses, Plagues, and History paints a sweeping portrait of humanity's long-standing conflict with our unseen viral enemies. Oldstone's book is a vivid history of a fascinating field, and a highly reliable dispatch from an eminent researcher on the front line of this ongoing campaign.

©2010 Michael B. A. Oldstone (P)2018 Tantor

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What listeners say about Viruses, Plagues, and History

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very interesting

While I listened to the book and gathered a great deal from it, the medical content will require some additional study to fully understand.
No reflection on the book which I enjoyed.

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4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Z.
  • 25-11-20

NASAL VOICE of NARRATOR.

I find the nasal sound of the narrator irritating. Like he had a permanently blocked nose. It was a bit of a put-off for me of an otherwise interesting story.

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1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic read

I'm a bit obsessed with viruses right now and this was a fascinating book from beginning to end. It's amazing that teeny tiny things that we can't even see without special microscopes can affect humans and history in such enormous and profound ways.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great overview

I’d love to see an update of this book following Covid and Monkey virus outbreaks; having said that the book is an excellent review of historical outbreaks of illness and their impact on populations.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Read this book

You don’t have to be of a medical profession just marvel at how incredible viruses and prions are , while we look to the stars another universe is going on inside us . L J Ganser gives excellent narration! Be scared and educated

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6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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This book

is scary, particularly at the present time whilst in the early stages of a corona virus pandemic. We'll worth the read.

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3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

lost in detail

There are some interesting bits but the author buries them in excessive and unnecessary detail.

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