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Beating Back the Devil Paperback – July 28, 2008
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"We would go into a center and find kids lying on the floor, severely dehydrated, with a clogged IV," he said. "Then we would go outside and find the relief workers building a stone fireplace.... And we'd have to say, Hot meals would be great, but in a few days you're not going to have any living kids to cook meals for.... Take this oral rehydration solution and sit by this child and spoon it into his mouth.... Don't do anything else, or this child is going to be dead."McKenna's research is painstakingly meticulous, and the doctors she profiles come across as brave firefighters of microbiological conflagrations. Not since Sherwin Nuland has an author so effectively revealed the dramatic side of medicine. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
McKenna begins her book with the first day of training for the EIS class of 2002 and follows many of them through their two years of service, but she does not limit her narrative to the stories of these health care workers. She reaches back in time to various outbreaks and interviews former EIS agents instrumental in detecting and controlling the spread of infection. While this book does not have the narrative drive and heart palpitating scenes of The Hot Zone, it is nonetheless a compelling portrait of disease. The chapter on SARS in particular illustrates the danger that these health care professionals face. Written for the lay person, this book never gets technical and so might disappoint those who want in-depth analysis instead of detective work.
For those with a general interest in epidemiology, Beating Back the Devil offers insight into disease detection.Read more ›
This book just was not the riveting reading that I found in Laurie Garret's books, or the book on the 1918 influenza, or "The Hot Zone" by Preston. The book is well-written, and less melodramatic as some of these books are, and I would not be adverse to recommending this as reading for public health students. It is just not as interesting as these other books mentioned, probably because I read those books first...
University of Pittsburgh
McKenna covers the history and activities of the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), which is a branch of the CDC. These people, who are considered a branch of the military, sign up for a stint which involves intensive training, personal risk, and the knowledge that they may be sent anywhere in the world with a single phone call and no notice. It's the people in this group that were on the front lines of discovering and fighting Ebola, AIDS, and hantavirus. The author generally follows a specific group of EIS personnel through their adventures (but not exclusively), so you get to know and understand the personal costs of this type of work. It's truly amazing that we have people in this country that are willing to risk everything to keep us safe from things we can not see and may not be able to protect ourselves from. Since many of the disease episodes are relatively recent, it's easy to relate to what's going on in the story, and McKenna does a good job in bringing it all to life. This is probably one of the advantages of this book over The Coming Plague. Beating helps cover that ten year gap since Plague was published.
If the subject of disease detection and control is of interest to you, Beating Back The Devil is a must-read...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Maryn is an inveterate story teller. Amazing vignettes that often leave one breathless. AND, it's all true.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
As a budding medical student, this totally made me want to join the Epidemic Intelligence Service. Highly recommended for others interested in the intersection of medicine and... Read morePublished 3 months ago by HP
As a complete layman, I loved this book for the information it gave me in a way that was easy and exciting for me to digest. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Kate Gowen
Excellent, little read review of the EIS and PHS. They still don't get the recognition they deserve and McKenna does a great job bringing some of the stories to light. Read morePublished 10 months ago by M
Most people don't have any idea what goes on when an epidemic breaks out, and even less of an idea of how -- and if -- the people who are supposed to be in charge when an epidemic... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Richard Katz
Interesting history of the Epidemic Intelligence Service and its roles in disease discovery, treatment, and eradication across the world and in this country. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jeannie
I thought this was a well written well researched book. I learned a lot about the CDS that I didn't know before. Read morePublished 14 months ago by AMPUPDELL