2014 Book Goal: 52 (mostly non-fiction)
2014 Books Read: 59 (92% non-fiction)

the_hot_zone_coverAll the talk of Ebola in the news recently reminded me of a book I read back around 1997, The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus by Richard Preston.   Seventeen years ago this book was a shocker to me.  I read it from cover to cover in a couple of days and don’t mind telling you it startled me.

I decided to read it again to see if it holds up after all this time.  I also was wondering if it would shock me even more now that Ebola is in the United States.  The book is every bit as good as I recall but it didn’t scare me any more than it did then.  It also didn’t scare me any less.

If you want to understand the origin and danger of Ebola, this is an excellent book.  Not only does Preston track the path of Ebola and Marburg as they burst onto the world stage, he makes it very understandable.  This was a simpler time.  This was a time when nobody was worried about infections sweeping across the planet.   In addition to the story of the spread of virii, Preston tells a chilling tale of the effects when contracted by humans.  It is scary stuff.

Does it make me want to seal up my house or lay low in a bunker?  No.  Does it give me pause for concern?  Most definitely.

by Chris Doelle