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You are here: Home > Suggested readings > Quammen - Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic - ISBN 0393346617 - 3.5/5

Viewed 22 times | Published on 2020-06-06 19:43:04


Quammen, David
Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic
BookID 12556618
(see LibraryThing.com card)
Description (from Amazon)A Booklist Top 10 Science Book of 2012, a 2012 New York Times Book Review Notable Book, and a Daily Beast "Top 11 Book of 2012"

A masterpiece of science reporting that tracks the animal origins of emerging human diseases.

The emergence of strange new diseases is a frightening problem that seems to be getting worse. In this age of speedy travel, it threatens a worldwide pandemic. We hear news reports of Ebola, SARS, AIDS, and something called Hendra killing horses and people in Australia?but those reports miss the big truth that such phenomena are part of a single pattern. The bugs that transmit these diseases share one thing: they originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. David Quammen tracks this subject around the world. He recounts adventures in the field?netting bats in China, trapping monkeys in Bangladesh, stalking gorillas in the Congo?with the world’s leading disease scientists. In Spillover Quammen takes the reader along on this astonishing quest to learn how, where from, and why these diseases emerge, and he asks the terrifying question: What might the next big one be?
My review: 3.5/5The book in and itself would be between 2.5 and 3*

The writing is long-winded and here and there is inclining toward gossip and fiction more than science reporting.

On the narrative/writing style, it was better "Congo" by Crichton (the book often make you think to that predecessor).

Nonetheless, it is informative- and gets a 3.5* mainly because... for reasons unknown, instead of sharing as a reference other books that discussed the transition from bats to humans of viruses, this book generated more interviews with the author.

In Italy, it resulted also in a new edition of the book (I read the English version).

Anyway, if you liked "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Diamond, probably this book (albeit also in this case I liked more Diamond's writing style) could add some few ideas and points.

Beside the obvious reason for reading the book now (COVID-19), it is interesting to read it also as a framework of ecological systemic thinking.

So, forgetting that it is about viruses and their cross-species lifecycle, it could be useful for other purposes and conceptual analyses

Therefore, if boring at times, worth reading

[Review released on 2020-06-06]
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