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The Pandemic Century

Nonfiction: History
Unabridged   13.75 hour(s)
Publication date: 04/09/2019

The Pandemic Century

One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria, and Hubris

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781684419876
Digital Download ISBN:9781684419883


A medical historian narrates the last century of scientific struggle against an enduring enemy: deadly contagious disease.

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Product Description

Ever since the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, scientists have dreamed of preventing catastrophic outbreaks of infectious disease. Yet despite a century of medical progress, viral and bacterial disasters continue to take us by surprise, inciting panic and dominating news cycles. From the Spanish flu to the 1924 outbreak of pneumonic plague in Los Angeles to the 1930 "parrot fever" pandemic, through the more recent SARS, Ebola, and Zika epidemics, the last one hundred years have been marked by a succession of unanticipated pandemic alarms.

In The Pandemic Century, a lively account of scares both infamous and less known, Mark Honigsbaum combines reportage with the history of science and medical sociology to artfully reconstruct epidemiological mysteries and the ecology of infectious diseases. We meet dedicated disease detectives, obstructive or incompetent public health officials, and brilliant scientists often blinded by their own knowledge of bacteria and viruses. Like man-eating sharks, predatory pathogens are always present in nature, waiting to strike; when one is seemingly vanquished, others appear in its place. These pandemics remind us of the limits of scientific knowledge, as well as the role that human behavior and technologies play in the emergence and spread of microbial diseases.


“Lively, gruesome, and masterful....Honigsbaum mixes superb medical history with vivid portraits of the worldwide reactions to each [pandemic] event.” —Kirkus Starred Review

“Engrossing....Combining history, popular science, and policy, [Honigsbaum] describes each pandemic with journalistic immediacy....An important and timely work.” —Booklist Starred Review

“Offers a mixture of gripping storytelling and insightful science....Alternately chilling and optimistic, Honigsbaum's reporting on a recurrent public health issue deserves wide attention.” —Publishers Weekly

“John Lee's narration appreciably enhances this illuminating audiobook.” —AudioFile

Author Bio

Mark Honigsbaum is a medical historian, journalist, and the author of five books, including The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria, and Hubris and The Fever Trail: In Search of the Cure for Malaria. He is currently a lecturer at City University, London.