• by Molly Caldwell Crosby
  • Narrated by Christian Rummel
  • 6 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A fascinating look at a bizarre, forgotten epidemic from the national best-selling author of The American Plague.
In 1918, a world war raged, and a lethal strain of influenza circled the globe. In the midst of all this death, a bizarre disease appeared in Europe. Eventually known as encephalitis lethargica, or sleeping sickness, it spread worldwide, leaving millions dead or locked in institutions. Then, in 1927, it disappeared as suddenly as it had arrived. Asleep, set in 1920s and '30s New York, follows a group of neurologists through hospitals and asylums as they try to solve this epidemic and treat its victims - who learned the worst fate was not dying of it, but surviving it.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Anatomy of an Epidemic

During the Great Flu epidemic of WWI, there was an epidemic of encephalitis lethargica —or “sleeping sickness”— that left its victims permanently disabled, a plague of catatonic lethargy. Some people were comatose for years-- and it could recur at any time.

What was it?

This medical-mystery drama, by award-winning reporter Molly Caldwell Crosby, follows the doctors, scientists, and patients of the time as they tried to solve the origins of this disease.

You may remember Oliver Sacks’s "Awakenings" chronicled his work curing the sleeping sickness victim. But science has yet to find the cause of the epidemic, the "why?"

Crosby's book turns a corner in these “sleep” conversations that will have you wide awake to the most chilling prospects yet.
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- Susie "I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South.""

A Fantastic and Bone Chilling Mystery

What made the experience of listening to Asleep the most enjoyable?

I can say without equivocation that Christian Rummel's performance brought this book to a brilliant life. In any audio book the story may be of the greatest interest, but if the narration is lacking, then something is lost from the beginning. Asleep is one book that has it all. We have a powerfully entertaining mystery of non-fiction - those that make you hold your hand to your mouth after an audible gasp. Asleep is difficult to bookmark because you are always anticipating what awaits beyond the next page.

Any additional comments?

Medical histories are not for everyone, but if you can put away any preconceived notions, you will walk away from this one with a new-found appreciation for the subject matter.

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- George

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-04-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios