The Panic Virus

  • by Seth Mnookin
  • Narrated by Dan John Miller
  • 10 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Panic Virus is a gripping scientific detective story about how grassroots radicals, snake-oil salesmen, and cynical journalists have perpetrated the biggest health-scare hoax of all time. It explores what happens when the media treats all viewpoints as equally valid, regardless of facts, from parents who are convinced that vaccines caused their children's autism to right-wing radicals who believe that climate change is a myth. It also explains how the endless quantity of information available online has radicalized partisans by fueling their tendency to filter out anything that doesn't reinforce their way of thinking.
Tens of millions of dollars have been wasted appeasing denialists who think the government is perpetrating a health "holocaust" on children. Declining vaccination rates have caused recent outbreaks of measles, whooping cough, and Hib - and children around the country are dying as a result.
Like works by Oliver Sacks and Richard Dawkins, The Panic Virus uses everyday experiences to show how science affects our lives. Listeners will learn why definitive proof in science is virtually impossible, how rational decision-making is ruled by emotion, and why paupers' graves in the 1880s led to an outbreak of throat cancer in the 1950s.

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What the Critics Say

"A riveting and important chronicle of one life-and-death realm in which passionate, panicky belief has dangerously trumped reason---and put millions of children at risk." (Kurt Andersen, author of Heyday)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Incredible thorough journey

This book was non-stop interesting and informative as Seth Mnookin demonstrates that the anti-vaccine movement is not a modern thing, but rather goes all the way back to even the Smallpox vaccine, which we now know was responsible for fully eradicating the Smallbox virus from the world. He doesn't pretend that vaccines have no risks, or that the government and health agencies didn't frequently underestimate the consequences of not fully explaining those risks to everyone. This caused backlashes resulting in lower immunity rates as younger populations forgot about how bad each illness was.

This was repeated time and time again with polio, mumps, measles and whoooping cough (pertussis).

The book goes all the way through the landmark Autism omnibus trial as he demonstrates just how utterly lacking the case was for the anti-vaccine side as they had to delay for more than a year to even find a set of doctors willing to testify to the theory of vaccine-caused Autism.

The narrator of this was very good and was never a distraction from the content.
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- Rachel Dewald

FINALLY!!! The truth about the vaccine scare

As a mother of an Autistic child, this scare encompassed my life for years. The lies were profoundly tossed around like facts, and real science took a back seat to peoples 'feelings'.
It's incredibly difficult for a scientifically minded person like myself to debate in an arena where the opposition only offers false information and the excuse of 'I just know!'
So many books have been written about the mercury in vaccines that DOESN'T EXIST, and no one tries to tackle the truth.
The narration was wonderful and very clear. He read it like a true investigation as he should have.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has questions about the validity of the vaccine scare to offer them some truth in all the lies and to expose the frauds for what they are.
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- tara

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-12-2011
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio