Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Demon in the Freezer

Who would have thought that I would enjoy a book about disease, research, science and pustular oozing sores? Not me! And yet I found this fascinating.

Smallpox was eradicated in 1979 and humanity heaved a great big smallpox-free sigh of relief. However, don't get too comfortable - according to Preston, the germ warfare threat is still out there.

This is not a particularly reassuring book, but it is fast paced and well written. Coincidentally, there is another smallpox book on the summer reading list this year THE ASTONISHING LIFE OF OCTAVIAN NOTHING - VOLUME ONE: THE POX PARTY is named for a gathering where colonial era intellectuals attempt to inoculate themselves in the hopes of avoiding being infected.

If you are a fan of disease books, Preston has written the highly acclaimed THE HOT ZONE, about the Ebola virus. If you like a historical bent FLU, by Gina Kolata, depicts the 1918 influenza epidemic. Happy reading!

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