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The author doesn’t generalize, but names names, places and dates this book happens in. Quite frankly, I don’t know how she did it, as there is so much info to read and understand! Learning about plagues, bought to mind what we are going through now in the Coronavirus now in 2020, and it scares the hell out of me!
The Coming Plague, written in 1995, is perhaps more timely than ever. It is a long book, but each chapter is a different outbreak the CDC handled or mishandled over the decades. since each chapter is a different outbreak, you can read them independently. So dont be overwhelmed bc its 800 pages. just means there's a lot of great shorter stories to choose from.
CDC handled some of these very well, even heroically. Some... not so much. Some in the latter category covered here are AIDS, toxic shock syndrome and legionnaires. Very well written. I learned so much from this book. By Laurie Garrett who won the Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on Ebola, which is in the book.
She basically predicted how the Ebola outbreak of 2014 would turn into a disaster, and it was written back in 1995. Just an incredibly awesome book. One of my all-time favorites.
This book and it's author have regained the limelight as the world contends with the terrifying coronavirus pandemic. I'm familiar with all the plague stories the author tells, but I've never seen such a superb collection of such information, much of it quite recent, that should be helpful to anyone trying to address the plague we face today, and anyone who would like to try to prevent the next one.
Considering when this was written ... It's like the author had a crystal ball. This isn't light reading but really is a must. Head's up: you'll likely become very conscious about germs before you finish the first chapter, but in a good way.
Terrific book - heavy reading about a serious subject - not fiction. Thick book, historical and of importance in light of global warming which will greatly increase the possibilities of plagues. Viruses and bacteria continually evolve, so they don't belong just to the past, they are an ever-present huge challenge to mankind. They morph for survival in response to the measures man takes to combat them. My father worked for the US Public Health Service, World Health Org, Pan American Health Org, etc, and lived and traveled all over the world - we grew up in many countries so I found it a sit-on-the-edge of your seat experience reading this book. If you ever saw the PBS show on the Great Flu Pandemic you ought to see that - then you will understand the war of man against microbe/virus is a war where the microbe/virus is one step ahead of us. This "war" is why the medical profession urges vaccines be given when recommended, and why antibiotics shouldn't be used when really not needed.
This is a long book. It's pretty well written, but the main point sometimes is lost in the details. There are lots of quotable statistics, but they are packed into each chapter. If I were to highlight each important or quotable passage, more of the text would be highlighted than not. The main point of the book is that we are pushing humans into contact with viruses that have the potential to be massively destructive. If this continues, we will have a pandemic of biblical proportions. As a supervisor, I often have people bring me problems. I would have liked it if this book had clearly stated what should be done to avoid the coming plague.
About 70% done with this book. Some detailed parts can be a little over my head but not many. It's amazing how much research went into the information. Everything is footnoted and very well written. While "The Hot Zone" was a much faster read and mainly about Ebola, this book covers it all, viruses, parasites and bacteria. It covers the past and present problems and paints an excellent picture of where we're headed and what can and should be done. Since this was written a while ago, it's easy to see she was right on with many of her predictions. An excellent book.
This is an amazing book. Laurie Garrett managed to take an extraordinarily complicated subject and make it accessible to the lay person. Her writing style is straightforward and engaging. She holds the reader spellbound with her elegant storytelling skill, remarkable for what could have been an exhausting, dry, technical report on infectious diseases. Ms. Garrett's book is especially important here and now in this year 2020. Her cautionary tale has become nightmarish reality. Although terrifying, The Coming Plague should be required reading.
When I started this book years ago in the dead tree edition (and did not finish, due to its heft), I was stunned and overwhelmed by the stories which Garrett told about epidemiologists out in the field. The diseases were incredibly scary, and so the risks that these scientists exposed themselves to in order to save a small village, a hamlet, potentially a nation or continent... We're talking about people who want to better the world, and are willing to put their lives on the line to do so. I think my reading was before 9-11, when US society refocused its definition of hero onto first responders, SEALS, Ground Zero workers etc. But the heroism of these epidemiologists still needs to be noted: when you're out in the field and catch some incredibly contagious disease, they don't send you an airplane ticket to get home: they send a lunar landing module with airtight locks, put you and your module on a military transport, and get you to some place with sufficient sophistication to get you well and then home. Not only are you at risk of dying... But you have an invaluable skill set and can't be easily replaced.
These kinds of stories are in Garrett's book. But there are also others which will make you slap your head in astonishment. Like the CDC scientist who goes to County Cork to see if the retired nuns might have traces of a virus from the Ivory Coast when they were missionaries in the 1940's. And then CATCHES that virus after kissing the Blarney Stone right after one of the nuns.
The book is astonishing, wonderful, thought provoking. And now that it's on Kindle I can finish it, no longer burdened by its heft. Really looking forward to it.