• by Sonia Shah
  • Narrated by Sonia Shah
  • 9 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the author of The Fever, a wide-ranging inquiry into the origins of pandemics
Interweaving history, original reportage, and personal narrative, Pandemic explores the origin of epidemics, drawing parallels between the story of cholera - one of history's most disruptive and deadly pathogens - and the new pathogens that stalk humankind today, from Ebola and avian influenza to drug-resistant superbugs.
More than 300 infectious diseases have emerged or reemerged in new territory during the past 50 years, and 90 percent of epidemiologists expect that one of them will cause a disruptive, deadly pandemic sometime in the next two generations.
To reveal how that might happen, Sonia Shah tracks each stage of cholera's dramatic journey from harmless microbe to world-changing pandemic, from its 1817 emergence in the South Asian hinterlands to its rapid dispersal across the 19th-century world and its latest beachhead in Haiti. She reports on the pathogens following in cholera's footsteps, from the MRSA bacterium that besieges her own family to the never-before-seen killers emerging from China's wet markets, the surgical wards of New Delhi, the slums of Port-au-Prince, and the suburban backyards of the East Coast.
By delving into the convoluted science, strange politics, and checkered history of one of the world's deadliest diseases, Pandemic reveals what the next epidemic might look like - and what we can do to prevent it.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

You will probably enjoy "Spillover" more

I am in the middle of reading Spillover and am enjoying it much more than this book. Pandemic is more current for certain, but David Quammen, the Author of Spillover, is by far more scientifically literate. Shah spends an awful lot of time focused on paradigm shifts in science. She even seems to have a really good grasp of Thomas Kuhn's arguments; and yet, she failed to realize the science she researched for this book has been pushed out by the very methods Kuhn elucidated in book, in fact the very methods she, herself, wrote about in this very book. She seems to lack critical thinking skills when it comes to psychology studies, never questioning the methods. If someone said it was true, she seemed to not only accept it, despite glaring flaws in the methods for those studies, but used the bad studies to argue her opinion. The old way of viewing evolution, the selfish gene as driver of all evolution, is on its way out the door. Yet, she clings tightly to that paradigm. She is enamored with the good genes/sexy sons hypothesis, selfish gene dogma, David Buss style evolutionary psych (which amounts to "just-so-stories). Her lack of adopting a progressive paradigm, considering her progressive subject matter was disappointing at best. I also didn't relate to her personal experience with the virus she and her son share. That detracted from the story for me.

Even with the negatives, the subject matter is trilling. What she lacks in scientific understanding, she really makes up for with her history of various viruses. Absolutely fantastic.

If you are only going to read one book about pandemics, let it be Spillover. But, if you are willing to read more than one book, because of the history she provides, this is definitely worthwhile.
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- serine

Very interesting and informative

I binge-listened to this book, because I couldn't stop. I had heard the author interviewed on NPR and was interested. The story is very informative, but entertaining.
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- DP

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-23-2016
  • Publisher: Random House Audio