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The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age Paperback – October 16, 2012
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“[A] quietly terrifying book. . . . It's hard not to feel a bit feverish at times while reading.” ―The Boston Globe
“One of the world's foremost virus hunters.” ―Financial Times
“Wolfe makes a convincing case for the [viral pandemic] threat. . . . Sometimes the scariest thrillers are those that could play out in real life.” ―Science News
“An excellent piece of scientific gothic, rich in descriptions of the threat we face from emerging viruses and how we might prevent them from becoming pandemic. . . . This enjoyable, well researched and thought-provoking book shows that [Wolfe] has a clear vision of how pandemics occur in human populations.” ―Nature
“[An] engrossing and fast-paced chronicle of medical exploration and discovery.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Startling in its revelations of just how vulnerable we are to infectious outbreaks.” ―Book Page
“Wolfe's message is both compelling and timely… Wolfe graphically illustrates how viruses can hitchhike their way from benign passenger to poison, from lone gunman to mass murderer. Luckily he and his international microbiologist cohorts are hot onto ways not only to track viral outbreaks and head them off but also convert them into human helpers--vaccines.” ―Booklist
“Highly recommend for all readers. This important book should be read by anyone wanting to stay informed on how global medical issues affect us all.” ―Library Journal
“From a well-traveled virologist, an eloquent argument for why we need better ways to predict and thus prevent major disease outbreaks… Wolfe's wide experience confronting killer diseases in Africa and Asia makes for important, graphic reading and underscores his passion for prevention.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“By turns terrifying and comforting, The Viral Storm is a clear, riveting account of the threat of undiscovered viruses. They lurk in the blood of primates killed for bush meat, poised to hitchhike on global travelers, reaching major cities and blood supplies before there's even time to name them. Nathan Wolfe is saving the world from near-inevitable pandemic. That he had time to write a kick-ass book on top of all that makes me want to smack him.” ―Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Packing for Mars
“Nathan Wolfe is a charismatic rising star of the medical world.” ―Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse
“This is an astonishingly lucid book on an important topic. Deeply researched, yet effortlessly recounted, Wolfe's mix of biology, history, medicine, and first-hand experience is potent and irresistible. This is a book that you cannot put down. In the tradition of Laurie Garrett's The Coming Plague, Wolfe's work will change the way we imagine and patrol human epidemics.” ―Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies
“Nathan Wolfe brilliantly explores the threat of pandemics, how they occur and why we should care. This book offers a warning--but also hope--to us all. The next pandemic is coming. How we deal with it is up to us. This is must reading for anyone who cares about their health, the health of their families and civilization as we know it.” ―Jeff Skoll, first President of eBay, Founder and Chairman of Participant Media, and Founder and Chairman, Skoll Global Threats Fund
About the Author
NATHAN WOLFE is the Lorry I. Lokey Visiting Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University and the founder and CEO of Global Viral Forecasting, an independent research institute devoted to early detection and control of epidemics. He holds degrees from Stanford and Harvard and has been published in or profiled by Nature, Science, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Economist, Wired, Discover, Scientific American, NPR, Popular Science, Seed, and Forbes. In 2011 he was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. He lives in San Francisco.
Top Customer Reviews
I personally didn't find it very engaging but it's not bad book by any means. Just don't be mislead by the title.
The Virus, for its opportunism in the extreme (parasitical is too meager a description) and because its very nature is controversial (is it Life or isn't it? I agree with his footnote on the bottom of pg.8) can appear to be such a vast topic that no one author can be expected to resolve or ask or even comprehend all the questions. Wolfe, in his first 35 pages, does at least try - and it remains my favorite section of the book - his amazement with these microscopic life(?)forms is so engaging that if you didn't have a respect for them before you will have afterwards. And, if the next 300 or so pages that come after it were just "so-so" for me that is not the fault of Wolfe, he has a wide readership to appeal to and just because I am not particularly interested in bureaucracies, who got what grant to do what and where does not mean that these aren't valid sections for millions of others.
But those first 35 pages, yes, they are heady indeed, Wolfe is delightful in both his recognition of just what makes these viruses so shocking and where we fit in their world (ie."our bodies are their habitats," p.27), and his conclusion in the first chapter, (Viral Planet) says it all: the viral world is the "new world," the last frontier of undiscovered life on our planet."
Perhaps it is the Lewis Thomas phenomena, a flashpoint where scientist and non-scientist can co-exist in a mutual relationship of shared passion, be it horror or admiration, or both?Read more ›
I learned about this book and Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer through Radio Lab. I recommend anything and everything Carl Zimmer has written and to skip The Viral Storm. The tiny amount that you'll learn about viruses in The Viral Storm you'll read about in Parasite Rex but in so much greater detail, plus fascinating stories about many other parasites. I've bought copies of Parasite Rex to give away to people but I wouldn't recommend The Viral Storm to anyone.
There are some significant weaknesses in this book:
* it is repetitive. Like Jared Diamond's second book, it repeats key themes in several chapters...an intelligent audience does not need to be hit over the head repeatedly that the change in accessibility (roads and travel) have also enabled viruses to travel faster and further. I suspect the editor dumbed the book down, based on how articulate the author seemed to be on the radio, or someone ghostwrote the book for him. Unfortunate.
* The author touches on some interesting subjects and does not complete the analysis, such as when he indicates he is going to provide a definitive review of the AIDS spread and then after he touches on how it jumped species and how access to roads in Africa enabled the spread (plus brief mention of mens camps) does not even touch on the spread in the US and Europe and how cultural changes and norms contributed. It feels as though he shies away from anything that could be controversial or political in the aspect of sexual preference and behavior.
* he uses sensationalistic photos and stories that do not contribute to the theme or science, for example when he tells the story of some unethical monkey research and shows a picture of a snake that had been caughts as a result of eating the monkey. It does not contribute in any meaningful way to the story and seems more sensationalistic.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had to order this book for a Geography class at my university that focused on geographical patterns of disease. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Andrew
Everyone should read this book and we all would become vegetarians.Published 5 months ago by Elizabeth Smyle
This. This book will change your entire perspective about the world you live in. It is gripping, well-written and informative. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Maria
I loved the prose and flow of the book. Fascinating and made it a really good and surprisingly easy readPublished 14 months ago by Marc Safran
Excellent interweave of one's scientist's personal journey into and through a major issue (infectious diseases) of human history.Published 14 months ago by George
Fair discussion of science presented in a well written self promotion vehicle overloaded with the I/me/my references and underwhelming detail as to virology and epidemiology. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a decent book about viruses, microbes, and research into pandemics over the years. For the non scientist, I didn't find it as telling and informative as a similar book I... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Gina Luke
A real shitstorm. But awesome research. Great and easy read.Published 18 months ago by Ronald J. Smith