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Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching Hardcover – November 15, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


Greger's work is imbued with deep commitment, discerning intelligence, and life-affirming compassion. -- John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America

From the Publisher

Here's what people are saying about Bird Flu:

"The book reads like a detective novel, but its value will be equipping readers to protect themselves from the flu.... Bird Flu will be a fine addition to the office library as we continue to plan a national response to a possible avian influenza pandemic." --Dirk Kempthorne, U.S. Secretary of the Interior

"The book is timely, well written, and very comprehensive from any reader's perspective. It also can help people understand the urgency of a possible avian flu pandemic as it now exists, and how it could affect the health and well-being of people everywhere." --Julie Gerberding, MD, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"[Greger's] contribution to research is commendable." --Colonel George W. Korch, Jr., Commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases

"A brilliant and captivating book, meticulously researched, beautifully and engagingly written with wit and grace, and argued with relentless logic. In addition to providing practical take-home tips for protecting oneself from the flu, the author elegantly demonstrates that the evolution of the devastating influenza virus, as well as that of numerous other zoonotic pathogens, stems directly from the proliferation of confinement agricultural systems. Every person concerned about human and animal health and welfare, self-preservation, and justice should read this book." --Bernard Rollin, PhD, University Distinguished Professor, Colorado State University

"Dr. Greger does an excellent job. His writing is lucid and sensible, and his research complete. Bird Flu is a timely work and will be an excellent resource for scientists and laypersons alike." --Earl Brown, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa

"Michael Greger has taken on the formidable task of reviewing and synthesizing the many factors contingent upon chicken production that have brought us to the influenza threat the world now faces. Drawing upon scientific literature and media reports at large, Dr. Greger explores the hole we have dug for ourselves with our own unsavoury practices.... Michael Greger has achieved much in this volume. He has taken a major step toward balancing humanity's account with animals." --Kennedy F. Shortridge, Ph.D., DSc(Hon), CBiol, FIBiol, Professor Emeritus at the University of Hong Kong

"Michael Greger's work is imbued with deep commitment, discerning intelligence, and life-affirming compassion. His work is a gift to our times." --John Robbins, author of The Food Revolution


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 465 pages
  • Publisher: Lantern Books; 1 edition (November 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590560981
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590560983
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, MD, is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. He has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in the defense of Oprah Winfrey in the infamous "meat defamation" trial. He is a graduate of Cornell University School of Agriculture and Tufts University School of Medicine. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at, with new videos and articles uploaded every day. Keep an eye for his upcoming book How Not to Die.

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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By M. Lachlan White on November 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Greger succeeds where virtually everyone else misses the mark on avian influenza and the coming pandemic -- bringing together the historical, medical, ecological, agricultural, viral, and economic factors that have contributed to the "hatching" of this new disease threat. The human choices and decisions that are evident at every turn in the history of H5N1 call to mind the Titanic: 1500 people drowned not solely because the ship hit an iceberg, but because of decisions about the design of the decks and the underwater compartments, reflecting priorities that had consequences for people's lives. The iceberg exposed those decisions for historic reflection. Blaming disasters on "nature" gets us off the hook every time.

The same attitude prevails in the official rhetoric about avian viruses and the pandemic that lies "dead ahead." Virtually all of the official emergency preparedness materials and health department websites echo the mantra that because influenza viruses are natural (true), therefore H5N1 is natural(not entirely) and consequently, this particular pandemic is also "natural" (not so).

With eloquence and precision, Dr. Greger pulls apart and then weaves together the mix of natural and manmade threads that comprise the H5N1 tapestry. Citing data from hundreds of scientific and lay sources within multiple disciplines, he overcomes the compartmentalization that characterizes almost all other approaches to analyzing the origins and characteristics of the virus itself, without diluting the rigor of scientific analysis.

Dr Greger examines the totality of variables that engender and accelerate ongoing genetic mutations within H5N1.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Garbato on January 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
BIRD FLU: A VIRUS OF OUR OWN HATCHING opens not with H5N1, the modern day "bird flu virus" which has the potential to mutate into the deadliest pandemic that the world has ever seen, but with H1N1, the influenza virus responsible for the 1918 flu pandemic. In just two short years, an estimated 50 to 100 million people perished as World War I raged on.

As described by author Michael Greger, MD, in chilling detail:

"What started for millions around the globe as muscle aches and a fever ended days later with many victims bleeding from their nostrils, ears, and eye sockets. Some bled inside their eyes; some bled around them. They vomited blood and coughed it up. Purple blood blisters appeared on their skin. [...] [The Chief of the Medical Services, Major Walter V. Brem] wrote that `often blood was seen to gush from a patient's nose and mouth.' In some cases, blood reportedly spurted with such force as to squirt several feet. `When pneumonia appeared,' Major Brem recounted, `the patients often spat quantities of almost pure blood.' They were bleeding into their lungs."

Yet, H1N1 had a "low" (relatively speaking) mortality rate of 2.5% to 5%. Compare that to H5N1, which thus far has killed 55% of those infected - and one must wonder why the possibility of bird flu pandemic is confined to occasional media reports that are quickly dwarfed by the latest Hollywood gossip. Is bird flu-inspired panic just another example of media sensationalism?

Not so, argues Greger. From 1918 he transitions seamlessly to the research laboratories of today.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Derek Goodwin on November 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Much of what is said in this book could be blown off as hype if you are one who trusts mainstream news sources. Dr Greger must be aware of this, as he cites every single source that his information comes from with painstaking detail. The final 1/3 of this book contains all of the references, mainly from scientists and government who probably have some idea of what they are talking about.

Ominously, I received a guide from the government on how to prepare for a flu pandemic as I read this book. The implications of what could happen to our civilization should the bird flu virus mutate from poultry to humans and then from human to human is quite frightening. Dr Greger shows in this book how that is not only possible but even likely due to the way modern agriculture keeps birds in intensively overcrowded conditions where viruses are free to mutate and become more effective at spreading.

As a spiritual person I believe that the way we have turned food animals into genetically modified Frankenstein creatures who live lives of intense confinement, torture and abuse is asking for karmic retribution. Dr Greger perhaps does not share this belief, but he lays the facts and science of pandemics out in a way that is hard for even the most scientifically-minded atheist to refute. We are on the brink of a apocalyptic catastrophe and what is being done to avert it is next to nothing. I hope this book will wake some people up and maybe we can rethink our values in time to save ourselves from disaster.
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