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Ebola: A novel of the first outbreak, by a doctor who was there Mass Market Paperback – June 27, 1995


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st American ed edition (June 27, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804114323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804114325
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #723,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Eloquent, gripping, harrowing.”—Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Dutch

Customer Reviews

Preston is clearly a more talented writer and the Hot Zone is a better book.
Severin Olson
It will definitely scare you and make you wish that Ebola was just something made up in some science fiction novel.
pdogmum
I found myself skipping large sections of the second half, a habit I have if the book is not holding my attention.
Lorene I Melvin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 20, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
William T. Close's account of the 1976 Ebola outbreak in the Yambuku region of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) provides a startling look at the emotions, fears and struggles of the individuals involved in a virus outbreak. In the case of this outbreak, the etiological agent was not yet known to human-kind, thus enhancing the fear of the disease caused by the virus.
It is unfair to compare this book to The Hot Zone since The Hot Zone is written more as a thriller rather than to be informative. It is full of sensationalistic phrases and thoughts and leaves out many important scientists involved in the Reston outbreak.
Close's Ebola gives you the knowledge needed to appreciate an outbreak of a deadly disease and I highly recommend it.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Grove on June 2, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ebola, by William T. Close, M.D., is a moderately dramatized account of the first outbreak of the Ebola virus in Zaire in 1976. The book's cover and introduction make it a point to inform you that Dr. Close was there to witness the outbreak firsthand and "worked desperately to contain the first outbreak of the virus", but the book is written in the third person and Dr. Close never makes an appearance. It's clear that he changed the names of the other people involved, but why change his own name in a book he's writing? Strange.

Also somewhat strange is the fact that the word "Ebola" never appears in the main narrative. This is understandable given the book's focus on the characters rather than on the virus, but since the book's title is Ebola, I was expecting a little more information on the virus itself. Close's choice to focus on the characters rather than the virus is at times a good thing and at times perplexing.

The story begins slowly, establishing the look and feel of the village of Yambuku, its people, and the Flemish nuns running the mission there. As the first victims of the virus begin to appear, the foreshadowing gets a little ham-fisted. It almost feels like Close is intentionally portraying the nuns as unconcerned and even careless merely for the sake of adding to the suspense.

After the first hundred pages or so, things finally start to pick up and the really interesting stuff begins. The dedication of the nuns in caring for the victims under some of the harshest conditions imaginable, even as they themselves begin to contract the virus, is touching, and it's what makes the book worth reading.

Unfortunately, while the middle of the book is gripping and generally well written, the last third goes completely off track.
Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Peter Werner on May 1, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is in a way unique. It is different from medical thrillers as it describes life itself. It creates its suspense and its attraction from the fact that the real world, real events are interwoven with fictional characters who themselves are based on real characters. Everything is authentic in this book. Close consequently does not ask questions about his characters' motivation or their human defects. They are heroes as human as they can be. And all the more admirable. An excellent book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "g2004" on July 21, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In this book, William Close has worked hard to record the true story about Ebola's first recorded outbreak. The events that unfolded in the Yambuku region of Zaire (now Dem. Rep. of Congo) are particularly frightening because of the unknown nature of the "new" pathogen which was killing people quickly and brutally, while breaking many of the known "rules" of disease prevention. The conversations and characters in the book reflect this atmosphere of fright. They caused me to explore my own character to ponder how I would have responded in the same situation. And, as a result of this book I have gained a more personal look at those who lost their lives to the first outbreak of Ebola. Too often we just hear reports of "300 dead in this region" without realizing that these people were mothers, fathers, and children. In conclusion, this book was not boring at all! Like any good novel, it explores the lives of the characters in-depth; sections without page-turning excitement should be expected. Yet the exciting parts of the books would not be the same without the more descriptive parts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kira Nerys on June 27, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you're looking for a strictly clinical scientific documentary, this book isn't what you're looking for. If you're looking for an "exciting" and highly sensationalized medical thriller, this book isn't what you want.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a book that explores the hearts and minds of those who lived and died during the Yambuku outbreak, most of all the Flemish nuns and priests who risked their lives in an attempt to save others from a horrifying, incurable new disease, then this book is for you.

What Close's 'Ebola' is is a very-well written novelization of the events in Yambuku, both educational and gripping. This is one of those books that puts a very human face on one of the deadliest new diseases out there... no one with an ounce of sensitivity will be able to finish this book and not be deeply affected by it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lorene I Melvin on July 6, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I love plague books....yeah I know this is weird but factual mysteries and how they are solved intrigue me. This book was hard to put down for the first half. Dr. Close wrote the first half and he is both interesting and very informative. Unfortunately the second half is written by someone else and it is not as interesting. I found myself skipping large sections of the second half, a habit I have if the book is not holding my attention. So I would recommend reading it with that expectation as Close's account in down right spellbinding.
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