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Publisher's Summary

The hunt for the origin of the AIDS virus began over 20 years ago. It was a journey that went around the world and involved painstaking research to unravel how, when, and where the virus first infected humans. Dorothy H. Crawford traces the story back to the remote rain forests of Africa - home to the primates that carry the ancestral virus - and reveals how HIV-1 first jumped from chimpanzees to humans in rural southeast Cameroon. Examining how this happened, and how it then travelled back to Colonial west central Africa where it eventually exploded as a pandemic, she asks why and how it was able to spread so widely. From hospital intensive care wards to research laboratories and the African rain forests, this is the wide-ranging story of a killer virus and a tale of scientific endeavour.
©2013 Dorothy H. Crawford (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Scott on 06-28-14

Amazing piece of medical detective work

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This book is an epidemiologist's dream. This is an utterly engrossing history of the hunt for the origin of the HIV virus. I was completely surprised that scientists seem to have been able to trace the origins of HIV to seemingly pinpoint places and times, stretching back further than I had previously thought. Rather than one continuous storyline/narrative, the author breaks this up into chapters that weave parallel but ultimately converging lines of investigation, tracing back from those first diagnosed, through the carriers who were the unwitting spreaders of the pandemic, through the disparate strains of HIV that became identified and laid a train back to the places and animals of the virus' origins. Incredible and would strain belief if not true. This audiobook had me from minute one. Still, I can't give it a full five stars. At time, I found the writing a bit dry, as if reading a collection of scientific papers. A more skilled writer might have found a way to craft this more as a whodunit in the spirit of a good true crime writer for instance. For instance, you never get much of a sense of who any of the multitude of scientists are behind the investigation - thus the narrative appeals solely to the intellect rather than any emotion. As well, I found myself getting lost at times in the array of different names of primate species, their lineage, as well as the alphanumeric strains of the different HIV strains. Indeed, the audiobook frequently references various diagrams and figures that would only be accessible in the actual book and would help clarify things. Still, those with a curiosity or interest in the origins of this modern pandemic will enjoy this book.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Wilf H. on 04-14-18

Essential information but need some kind of background to understand it

Fascinating story, less accessible than spill over by David Quanmon but full of interesting facts. Generation I felt was a little too rapid and sterile for such an important topic.

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