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I wanted a book on killer viruses and deadly jungles. I wanted to be scared. When the book switches over to two Russian scientists trying to calculate pi, I waited for this to tie into viruses. Oops. This book is a collection of unrelated essays. One talks about the insects in trees, another about an ancient tapestry, and yet another discusses an odd kind of self-mutilating autism. Oh, and then there's the opening essay about viruses. I really think this book was designed to grab the Hot Zone audience and make us listen to other essays we wouldn't normally seek out. All the same, they were interesting and well written by a skilled journalist. Very interesting, but...eh....there are other books out there.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful
I have always founf myself transfixed by the works of Richard Preston. The Hot Zone and Demon in the Freezer scared me witless. This time, Mr. Preston has thrown some of his research data together into a type of short story format. Mr. Preston begins with the familiar Ebola virus and what he had to do to learn enough about it to write a book as frightening as Hot Zone. The he shifts gears and talks about two brothers and their obsession with the mystical number Pi. This is a wonderful tale of determination. From their you go on a journey in the woods of the Eastern US to discover how such very tiny insects and fungi are wiping out some of the largest trees in North America. Then there is the tale of how many became millionares while working on the human genome project, only to lose it all in only a few days. The last is my favorite. The tale of the Lesh-Nyhan syndrom. If you like reading about viral conditions, molecular studies, genetic mapping and very small numbers, give this book a listen. I find it well worth the time and the money. Thank you Mr. Preston!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful