The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story is a best-selling nonfiction thriller by Richard Preston about the origins and incidents involving viral hemorrhagic fevers, particularly ebolaviruses and marburgviruses. The basis of the book was Preston's New Yorker article "Crisis in the Hot Zone". 1 day ago Relatively speaking, 'The Hot Zone' is like the PG version of the HBO “Crisis in the Hot Zone,” later expanded into a nonfiction book by the. The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus [Richard Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the month in fiction, nonfiction.
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Editorial Reviews. ruthenpress.info Review. The dramatic and chilling story of an Ebola virus . This book, THE HOT ZONE by RICHARD PRESTON, is a TRUE account of the study of Marburg and Ebola viruses in the years preceding the full . The Hot Zone book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. The bestselling landmark account of the first emergence of the Ebol. This book, THE HOT ZONE by RICHARD PRESTON, is a TRUE account of the study of Marburg and Ebola viruses in the years preceding the full blown.
Nancy Jaax Julianna Margulies finds Dr. The Hot Zone , a six-part National Geographic miniseries that premieres Monday night, is based on a true story about Ebola. In , a shipment of monkeys from the Philippines arrived at a private commercial lab in Reston, Va. The intention was to use the macaques for testing. Only many of them died. The lab wrapped infected monkey cells in aluminum foil and shipped them in a box to the U.
The eventual finding: The monkeys had Ebola — a strain that came to be known as Ebola-Reston and that is, as it turns out, the only known strain of the potentially fatal virus that is not thought to be lethal in humans. As a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Texas, he continues working with viruses like Ebola. National Geographic is hedging about accuracy — it says the series was "inspired" by the events. And they are airing a documentary on Wednesday at 11 p. Nonetheless, at a time when Ebola is still in the headlines, with an ongoing outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo, we wanted to assess how the miniseries tackles the virus.
What does it get right? What does it get wrong? So we asked Geisbert to critique and fact-check. Geisbert says he's sure the series "may be entertaining for the general public, but it is quite flawed in terms of any historical accuracy and there are numerous scientific flaws. The Demon in the Freezer: The Cobra Event: Customers who bought this item also bought.
Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. A True Story. Richard Preston. Mass Market Paperback. A Novel. AP English Language I Have a Dream: The Glass Castle: A Memoir. Jeannette Walls. Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic.
David Quammen. From Publishers Weekly Preston's account of an outbreak of a strain of the Ebola virus among monkeys in a Virginia laboratory has spent more than 30 weeks on PW's bestseller list. Read more.
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Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified download. Do I say "Research? My zombies are merely sick people. I am not a medical person so I needed some input on how it all starts and how contagious it all is.
As it turns out it isn't as bad as Ebola, but the gore of my book might evolve due to this book. Meanwhile, this is a book I put off for decades. I remember a guy named Jason at the school I worked at that came up to me with the paperback. He was so excited about it. But the more he talked the squirmier I got. I started watching shows like Outbreak. We saw it in the theater. Remember that sneeze? I nearly ran out of there when someone coughed.
I grew--good or bad, I guess that's for others to judge. But lately, I can watch a disaster movie, or The Walking Dead and notice only the social reaction to the monsters or the disease or the overwhelming snow.
So I thought I could now face this book. Reading happens at bedtime.
I read this book while on night watch in the Army. I was eating cheap red licorice at a frenzied pace while I read from sheer nerves. The idea of bleeding out through every bodily opening was terrifying. The next morning I went to the bathroom and discovered that cheep red licorice passes nearly untouched through the human digestive system.
It goes in red and comes out red - blood red. I very nearly screamed before I realized what I was seeing. View all 7 comments. Nov 27, Emily May rated it really liked it Shelves: Both species, the human and the monkey, were in the presence of another life form, which was older and more powerful than either of them, and was a dweller in blood.
I read this book on the same days I was watching the Netflix adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House , which had a curious effect on me. Because, well, the TV show might be very creepy, but I have to say it is nothing compared to the horror of this book.
That's what The Hot Zone is: A true horror story. Preston uses interviews and f Both species, the human and the monkey, were in the presence of another life form, which was older and more powerful than either of them, and was a dweller in blood. Preston uses interviews and first-hand accounts to tell the story of the Ebola virus and its various strains. I'd heard of Ebola, of course. I knew it was a disease and that it killed people. I knew I didn't want it.
But I didn't really know. I didn't know that it liquidates your organs and turns your body into a walking corpse days before you "bleed out". I didn't know that it is one of the most infectious diseases that have likely ever existed on this planet. It acts like a predator, lying quietly in wait for a host so it can multiply and multiply to destructive effect. Reality can be so much more scary than fiction. Truly, this is a terrifying book. Preston definitely dramatizes the whole thing, but he's working with some pretty powerful material.
Imagine a virus with the infectiousness of influenza and the mortality rate of the black plague in the Middle Ages-- that's what we're talking about. This is the third book about diseases and medicine that I've really enjoyed though, yes, enjoyed seems like a poor choice of word - the other two being And the Band Played On and The Emperor of All Maladies. I'll happily take recommendations for any others.
In the hands of a skilled writer, these books are fascinating, educating and deeply unsettling. Also, despite the age of this book, it doesn't feel too dated. Maybe that is because Ebola remains a threat. Ebola outbreaks are ongoing in Africa, right now. One mistake, one oversight, one infected person taking a plane flight and we might not be able to stop it.
Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube View all 18 comments. Mar 06, Matthew rated it it was amazing Recommended to Matthew by: This is one of those rare situations where I read an entire book in one sitting. This book is absolutely captivating and terrifying. It has been over 20 years since I read it and parts of it still stick with me.
This book and any of the others by Preston about viruses, pandemics, etc. Fun fact: View all 41 comments. May 24, Tortla rated it liked it Recommends it for: Read this while you are eating on a plane next to a sick person.
View all 9 comments. Oct 22, Charissa rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Holy fuck. This book will make you want to wash your hands Try not to read this book before bed. It may cause some unsettling dreams. I don't know, I found that kind of unsettling.
This book has singlehandedly accomplished my vow to never visit Africa. Mostly because Africa is a giant continent filled with monkey pox and malar Holy fuck. Mostly because Africa is a giant continent filled with monkey pox and malarial insects. Does that make me a big namby pamby puddin head?
That's okay. I'm comfortable with that. I'm fine with staying places on the globe where I'm less likely to scrape my hand on bat guano and die a horrible, convulsive, putrifying death 36 hours later. I'm funny that way. Also, in combination with the book 'The Coming Plague' by Laurie Garrett, with reading this I became convinced that our destruction as a species will come not at the tragedy of nuclear annihilation, which I had feared my entire conscious life I have felt much more relaxed about life since then.
Pass the echinacea. View all 30 comments. Jun 16, Hannah rated it it was amazing Shelves: My take-away thoughts from reading The Hot Zone: You do not want to get infected with Ebola. If A above occurs, head immediately and directly to your nearest lawn and garden store, download a pack of rat poison, mix with vodka, and drink your last. Repeat B above until dead. Again, you do not want to get infected with Ebola.
Nov 19, Joe Valdez rated it liked it Shelves: The first thing to know about The Hot Zone , the bestseller by Richard Preston, is that it is not a romance novel. While men, women, exotic getaways and showers are involved, they're not the type that would cue Sade on the soundtrack. The rudimentary style of Preston's writing dispels the mater The first thing to know about The Hot Zone , the bestseller by Richard Preston, is that it is not a romance novel. The rudimentary style of Preston's writing dispels the material as satisfying non-fiction, while the lack of a strong central character or narrative limit it as a yarn.
The material concerns the discovery of the Ebola virus in western Kenya in and efforts by the U. Army to neutralize it when the virus is discovered in a Reston, Virginia animal facility in November The first half of the book sets up the infant rampages of Ebola in central Africa, documenting its effect on human beings and an averted outbreak in Kinsasha, while the second half of the book details the Army's hunt when the killer has the audacity to surface in the U.
If the book has central characters, they'd be U. The Jaaxes treat service dogs and every other animal working for the Army alas, Preston doesn't specify what the Army uses mules or rabbits for. The couple have three children, four dogs and a parrot. While Jerry has worked with monkeys, which can be dangerous and infectious, his wife has experience handling Ebola, putting her on par with a spearfisherman who has experience diving with great white sharks.
When you begin working with biological agents, the Army starts you in Biosafety Level 2, and then you move up to Level 3. You don't go into Level 4 until you have a lot of experience, and the Army may never allow you to work there. In order to work in the lower levels, you must have a number of vaccinations.
And, of course, she had had a series of shots for rabies, since she was a veterinarian. Her immune system reacted badly to all the shots; they made her sick. The Army therefore yanked her out of the vaccination program. At this point, Nancy Jaax was essentially washed up.
She couldn't proceed with any kind of work with Level 3 agents, because she couldn't tolerate the vaccinations. There was only one way she could continue working with dangerous infectious agents.
She had to get herself assigned to work in a space suit in Level 4 areas. There aren't any vaccines for Level 4 hot agents. A Level 4 hot agent is a lethal virus for which there is no vaccine and no cure.
Another adversary of Ebola is Eugene Johnson, a civilian virus hunter contracted by the Army. In the spring of , when a ten-year-old Danish boy visiting his parents in Kenya dies of a Level 4 hot agent known as Marburg virus, Johnson tracks the killer to Kitnum Cave in Mount Elgon in western Kenya, but his expedition is unable to isolate the virus, explain its origins or develop a vaccine.
Peter Jahrling is a civilian virologist also employed by the Army who along with an eighteen year old intern named Tom Geisbert who's an ace with an electron microscope inhales tissue samples later testing positive for Ebola, putting both men on a self-imposed death watch. Ebola's predatory attacks on human beings in central Africa are like murder scenes. The onset of Ebola virus is a throbbing headache that typically occurs on the seventh day of incubation.
Fever and nausea come next, with victims expelling a cocktail of tarry granules and red arterial blood known as "black vomit. The liver, kidneys, lungs, hands and feet become jammed with blood clots. Victims turn into passive automatons. Walking dead. They then hemorrhage in violent epileptic fits the Army calls "crashing and bleeding out," Ebola's program for transmitting to a fresh host through infected blood.
One of the hosts is a twenty-year old who Preston calls "Nurse Mayinga. As she develops symptoms, Nurse Mayinga fears that her scholarship to study in Europe might be revoked.
Rather than seek treatment, the nurse wanders the city of two million, setting up a species-threatening event. As news breaks out, President Mobutu, the notorious ruler of Zaire, dispatches his armed forces to quarantine the hospital and blockade the rural areas where infected have been reported.
Through no effort by the regime, Ebola mysteriously fails to replicate and disappears. Preston visits with Karl Johnson, a retired C. They discuss scenarios like the one introduced by Nurse Mayinga.
Certainly it hasn't happened yet. I'm not worried. More likely it would be a virus that reduces us by some percentage. By thirty percent. By ninety percent. And you're not bothered.
To prevent the spread of infectious disease, federal regulations require imported monkeys be quarantined for one month before being shipped elsewhere. Over three weeks, twenty-nine quarantined monkeys die in one room at the monkey house. Dan Dalgard, the consulting veterinarian, suspects SHF simian hemorrhagic fever which is deadly to monkeys but harmless to humans.
Armed with electron microscope photographs by intern Tom Geisbert, civilian virologist Peter Jahrling alerts his superior, Colonel Clarence James Peters, that they may have a filovirus outside Washington D.
Fearing that Peters could quarantine both him and Geisbert in a biocontainment hospital known as the Slammer for thirty days over what could be nothing, Jahrling neglects to report that they handled and inhaled the Reston samples. They decide to test their own blood and self-monitor. Using a blood sample collected from Nurse Mayinga, Jahrling's analysis concludes that the Reston monkeys are infected with Ebola. Jahrling's analysis races up the chain of command. Among the experts assembled, Col.
Peters invites Lt. Nancy Jaax. Her work with Ebola leads her to believe that the virus can be infectious by air, enabling it to "nuke" an entire building should it get into an HVAC system.
She also believes that even if Ebola is quarantined in the Reston monkey house, it won't stay there long. Peters chooses Nancy's husband, Col. Jerry Jaax to lead a team of soldiers and civilians into the monkey house to euthanize the animals caged in the building. The Army had never mobilized a major field operation against a hot virus before. Obviously there were legal questions here.
Lawyers were going to have to be consulted. Was this legal? General Russell was afraid the Army's lawyers would tell him that it could not, and should not, be done, so he answered the legal doubts with these words: You never ask a lawyer for permission to do something. We are going to do the needful, and the lawyers are going to tell us why it's legal.
Like Jaws , Ebola is the hunter and we're the prey. Like a shark sighting, an outbreak of Ebola is scary enough to generate a widespread panic. Like the great white in Jaws , the virus is a natural born killer, a prehistoric predator whose hunters both respect and admire it.
It does not discriminate, ripping apart a ten-year-old boy cavorting in nature, just like Jaws , and despite the microscopic size of the virus, seems to have the same cunning as the great white.
What surprised me about the book was how rudimentary the writing was. I haven't read the article it was based on, but the book is pitched at a much less demanding audience than the average piece in the New Yorker. Preston repeats himself a lot and spares detail, which is rarely an experience I have with the magazine. There's solid character work, but the book takes two hundred pages to establish the Army mission and never locks in around a central character or two. It's as if trying to please everyone, Preston took the weakest elements of non-fiction and genre fiction and muddled them up.
I recommend the book for those looking for information on killer viruses and the true life crime story of how an outbreak was averted in the U. While a virus doesn't have the cinematic menace of a great white shark, Preston's magazine article did inspire two competing killer virus projects in Hollywood in An adaptation of his book set to star Robert Redford and Jodie Foster under the direction of Ridley Scott fell apart, due in part to the grim reality that the story ends with the euthanization of hundreds of monkeys.
A competing project titled Outbreak with Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo and Morgan Freeman did make it to the screen in , pumping up and dramatizing the events of Reston with the aid of at least eight different screenwriters. View all 27 comments. Jun 10, Daniel Bastian rated it really liked it Shelves: The subtitle for Richard Preston's bestseller reads: To say that Preston took artistic liberties is akin to saying Ayn Rand held only a little contempt for Marxism or that Memento had a tendency to confuse its viewers.
There can be no doubt that Preston delivered a vivid and hair-raising The subtitle for Richard Preston's bestseller reads: There can be no doubt that Preston delivered a vivid and hair-raising thrill ride, a marvelously written if unevenly paced house of horrors, but on balance his book is about as accurate as a Stone age slide rule.
It might have passed for harmless over-sensationalizing, except with the Ebola epidemic in-progress and tensions wound tighter than ever, the book has become the bane of disease experts and science communicators working to tamp down the mass hysteria. In this case, thankfully, the truth isn't scarier than fiction. The book is structured around four events: Preston needs only the space of a few pages to subdue the reader into a state of trepidation.
I was spooked almost immediately, even knowing it was all a bit light on fact. The characters, many of whom are given fictitious names, have blood spurting from every orifice, their insides "liquefying," and at one point we read of a nurse "weeping tears of blood. Preston himself concedes as much in a NY Times interview last month: So there's some exaggeration here and some embellishment there and the 3. But let's not point too much of the blame in one direction.
An invisible pest that moves from person to person and leaves a high mortality rate in its wake is bound to generate a level of fear, with or without The Hot Zone. And when you combine the low science literacy rates in America with its media's penchant for doom-mongering and narcissistic over-commentary, some version of collective psychosis is all but inevitable. Of course, the recent outbreak has sparked renewed interest in the book, and its infidelity to fact doesn't help the situation.
In an effort to defuse some of this noise, let's get to know the real Ebola virus, at least what we've gleaned so far. First, some perspective. Yes, Ebola is deadly, and international aid groups should be throwing everything they've got at curbing this latest and greatest outbreak.
As of 14 November , there have been more than 14, reported cases and over 5, confirmed deaths WHO updates this page weekly since it emerged in Guinea one year ago. But as a matter of pure numbers, Ebola is a minor player on the pathogen roster. Compare those figures with seasonal flu—the reason many of your coworkers have been calling in sick recently—which infects hundreds of millions and causes , deaths every year including 20, in the U.
Or norovirus , which infects million people and kills , annually. Hepatitis C is a virus that currently infects million people worldwide, while malaria kills more than , a year, or about 68 people per hour.
Even rabies accounts for a steady 69, deaths per year. Any fear you might have of Ebola should be calibrated against the numbers, which tell us that we're far more likely to die from lightning, a car accident or a plane crash than we are from Ebola.
Much of that has to do with Ebola's method of transmission. Contrary to what Preston repeatedly suggests in The Hot Zone , Ebola is not transmitted through the air or by respiratory secretions i. Ebola can only be transmitted by direct physical contact with the blood, vomit or feces of an infected person. A cough or a sneeze from an Ebola host doesn't contain high enough concentrations of the virus to infect someone nearby because Ebola doesn't aerosolize in the way its airborne counterparts do.
This explains why the reports keep flowing in of infected healthcare workers; they are at the highest risk of infection because they're the ones working with the patients after the incubation period is over and symptoms have surfaced. So unless you find yourself in contact with any of these three fluids of an Ebola victim, you have little to worry about.
Many have frowned on science for not having a vaccine ready by the truckloads. This may sound brusque, but given the differential threat of the other viruses mentioned above, Ebola isn't a top priority. We've seen a total of 32 outbreaks over the last 40 years, and yet none have secured a lasting foothold in humans.
In contrast, flu and malaria are perennial killers of titanic proportions. Moreover, vaccines and antivirals like the experimental ZMapp , which co-opts tobacco plants to clone antibodies derived from mice are painstakingly difficult and costly to produce and must be adapted to the rapid pace of evolution. In the triage of epidemiological exigency, Ebola's sporadic presence and short-fused temperament simply rank lower next to many other human scourges.
Its tendency to play hopscotch with the human race is also why there is much we still don't know about Ebola. As Level 4 contagions go, it is deceptively simple. Were you to ogle it under a microscope, you'd see a single strand of RNA that codes for a mere seven proteins, one of which—VP24— has been identified as the key facilitator for disrupting the cell signaling processes involved in immune response.
With the key communication lines cut, Ebola is allowed free rein and overwhelms the host system before antiviral reinforcements have time to interfere. The biochemistry is less opaque than Ebola's origins, however. One of the finer points we've yet to work out is zoonotic provenance: Was it in the direction of apes-to-humans like HIV, or did it spill over from some other creature whose environment overlaps with ours?
The favored culprit is Egyptian fruit bats , which are known to carry not only the sister virus Marburg but antibodies to Ebola. Even so, it could lurk elsewhere in the wild, biding its time until local conditions pave the way for its reemergence. Learning how pathogens jump from one species to another is vitally important to preventing future outbreaks and is a hot topic among research communities today.
Closing Thoughts Much like this review, the central character of Preston's fan favorite is the omnipresent virus. The human characters in the book are poorly developed and ultimately forgettable backdrops which fade in and out as Preston heightens the drama around his lurid replicator—that "nonhuman other" for which he prowls in Kitum Cave.
You'll get a few interesting bits about life inside a biosafety facility, but for the most part any factual profile on Ebola is swallowed whole by the embroidery and myriad grotesqueries sprinkled in at the expense of navigating a more careful line between fiction and reality. Take The Hot Zone for what it is: It is beginning to react to the human parasite, the flooding infection of people, the dead spots of concrete all over the planet, the cancerous rot-outs in Europe, Japan, and the United States, thick with replicating primates, the colonies enlarging and spreading and threatening to shock the biosphere with mass extinctions.
Perhaps the biosphere does not "like" the idea of five billion humans. Or it could also be said that the extreme amplification of the human race Nature has interesting ways of balancing itself. This review is republished from my official website. Click through for additional footnotes and imagery. View all 8 comments. Nov 04, Traveller rated it really liked it Shelves: At the point where Monet starts to literally disintegrate on his plane trip, I got a kind of anxiety attack and had to stop reading.
I did it! I must admit that I found his visit to Kitum cave, towards the end of the book, to be a spot of melodrama, as was quite a bit of the rest Ouch I must admit that I found his visit to Kitum cave, towards the end of the book, to be a spot of melodrama, as was quite a bit of the rest of book, interspersed with unnecessary filler. I did find it very interesting indeed to read about the research and how virologists work.
As a whole I found the book pretty readable when it wasn't scaring me out of my wits, so 3 and a half stars it gets.