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Publisher's Summary

The Nazis discovered it. The Allies won the war with it. It conquered diseases, changed laws, and single-handedly launched the era of antibiotics. This incredible discovery was sulfa, the first antibiotic medication. In The Demon Under the Microscope, Thomas Hager chronicles the dramatic history of the drug that shaped modern medicine. Sulfa saved millions of lives, among them, Winston Churchill's and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr.'s, but its real effects have been even more far reaching. Sulfa changed the way new drugs were developed, approved, and sold. It transformed the way doctors treated patients. And it ushered in the era of modern medicine. The very concept that chemicals created in a lab could cure disease revolutionized medicine, taking it from the treatment of symptoms and discomfort to the eradication of the root cause of illness.
A strange and vibrant story, The Demon Under the Microscope illuminates the colorful characters, corporate strategy, individual idealism, careful planning, lucky breaks, cynicism, heroism, greed, hard work, and central (though mistaken) idea that brought sulfa to the world. This is a fascinating scientific tale with all the excitement and intrigue of a great suspense novel.
©2006 Thomas Hager (P)2006 Tantor Media, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Highly entertaining." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Sara on 09-02-08

A fantastic book

If you like history, science and the step by step retelling of discovery this book is for you. The author deftly weaves together events across time and from sites around the world to give a cohesive vision of illness caused by infection, war, disease and transformation brought about by science. At times heart wrenching and disturbing but an amazing read nonetheless. Excellent!

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42 of 43 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 05-21-08

Great Book!!!!!

OK. This purports to be the story of the development of sulfa drugs. Boring, you say? That's what I thought. I purchased it on the strengths of the other reviews. And, glad I did. This is the most intriguing and interesting story I've read this year. Extremely well told and narrated.

It is actually the history of the treatment (or lack thereof) of bacterial infections over the years. I'll bet you didn't know Calvin Coolidge had a son who died because a blister on his foot got infected? Or that Doctors used phenols to treat a minor medical procedure on Queen Victoria? Or that the Nazis prevented the most brilliant scientists of their time from getting a Nobel prize?

At times I got a bit confused when the author backed up to explain some historical or preceding event. I rather think that had more to do with the fact that this is an audio book and you need to pay careful attention.

Overall, though, I really must give this story my highest ratings and would recommend it to the layman and scientist alike.

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55 of 59 people found this review helpful

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