Scourge

  • by Jonathan B. Tucker
  • Narrated by Patrick Cullen
  • 9 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Smallpox, the only infectious disease to have been eradicated, was one of the most terrifying of human scourges. It covered the skin with hideous, painful boils, killed a third of its victims, and left the survivors disfigured for life. In this riveting, often terrifying look at the history of smallpox, Jonathan B. Tucker tells the story of this deadly disease, the heroic efforts to eradicate it worldwide, and the looming dangers it still poses today. Starting in the 16th century, the smallpox virus afflicted rich and poor, royalty and commoners, and repeatedly altered the course of human history.
No safe way of preventing smallpox existed until 1796, when an English country doctor named Edward Jenner developed a vaccine against it. During the ensuing 170 years, vaccination banished smallpox from the industrialized countries, but it remained a major cause of death in the developing world, killing almost two million people per year. Finally, in 1967, the World Health Organization launched an intensified global campaign to eradicate smallpox. By early 1978, the disease had been eliminated worldwide.
During the 1980s, Soviet leaders cynically exploited the world's new vulnerability to smallpox by mass-producing the virus as a strategic weapon. In recent years, concern over the possible return of smallpox has taken an even greater urgency with the realization that clandestine stocks of the virus may still exist.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Everyone should listen to this

Well written and read. Can get a little technical but I learned quite a bit from this book. This story is important in understanding more of the ease of spread of current diseases and the near impossible fight against them. Great work...
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- Roderick

Interesting, but with annoying mispronunciations

The book is quite interesting as an overview of the challenge faced in eradicating smallpox in the 20th century. The book is detailed and addresses WHO efforts worldwide as well as political challenges that impeded the work.

The narrator has an old-fashioned newscaster's tone and pacing, but annoying mispronounces many ordinary words. I am willing to overlook mispronunciation of technical terms, but the narrator should be able to speak standard English.
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- Helcura

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-05-2004
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.