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Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus [Kindle Edition]

Bill Wasik , Monica Murphy
2.8 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (4 Kundenrezensionen)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

“A searing narrative.”
—The New York Times
 
“In this keen and exceptionally well-written book, rife with surprises, narrative suspense and a steady flow of expansive insights, ‘the world’s most diabolical virus’ conquers the unsuspecting reader’s imaginative nervous system. . . . A smart, unsettling, and strangely stirring piece of work.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Fascinating. . . . Wasik and Murphy chronicle more than two millennia of myths and discoveries about rabies and the animals that transmit it, including dogs, bats and raccoons.”
—The Wall Street Journal
 
Rabid delivers the drama of Louis Pasteur’s courageous work developing the rabies vaccine at the same time it details the disease’s place in our cultural history, taking us from Homer to the Bronte sisters to Zora Neale Hurston to Richard Matheson. . . . All along the book’s prose and pace shine—the book is as fast as the virus is slow.”
—The Seattle Times
 
“A very readable, fascinating account of a terrifying disease….Wasik and Murphy grippingly trace the cultural history of the disease. . . . Rabid reminds us that the disease is a chilling, persistent reminder of our own animal connections, and of the simple fact that humans don’t call all of the shots.”
—The Boston Globe
 
“Compelling. . . . Murphy and Wasik give life, context and understanding to the terrifying disease. Like the virus itself, this fascinating book moves quickly, exploring both the marginalized status and deadly nature of the virus. And as the authors trace the influence of rabies through history, Rabid becomes nearly impossible to put down.”
—New Scientist
 
“An elegant exploration of the science behind one of the most horrible way to die.”
—Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail
 
“This book is not for the squeamish. Yet those who are fascinated by how viruses attack the body, by the history of vaccination and by physicians’ efforts to save the most desperately ill patients will want to read it. There is also a happy ending: scientists are working to harness rabies as a potent drug delivery vehicle.”
—Scientific American
 
“[Wasik and Murphy] offer an in-depth look at a disease so insidious that it even turns our best friends—dogs—against us. The pair convincingly link the history of rabies…with the history of man’s fear of nature and the unknown, and our own latent capacity for beastliness.”
—The Daily Beast
 
“Thrilling, smart, and devilishly entertaining, Rabid is one of those books that changes your sense of history—and reminds us how much our human story has been shaped by the viruses that live among us.”
—Steven Johnson, author of The Ghost Map
 
“Rabies has always been as much metaphor as disease, making it an excellent subject for cultural history. . . . As Wasik and Murphy document . . . the horror of rabies has been with us since the beginning of human civilization.”
—Bookforum
 
“Funny and spry. . . . It’s a rare pleasure to read a nonfiction book by authors who research like academics but write like journalists.”
—Alice Gregory, n+1
 
 “Readable, fascinating, informative, and occasionally gruesome, this is highly recommended for anyone interested in medical history or the cultural history of disease.”
Library Journal (starred review)
 
“Take Bill Wasik, one of our most perceptive journalistic storytellers, have him join forces with Monica Murphy, scholar of public health, and you end up with this erudite, true-life creep show of a book. It turns out that the rabies virus is a good bit more fascinating and at least as frightening as any of those blood-thirsty monsters that have stalked our fairy tales, multiplexes, and dreams.”
—Donovan Hohn, author of Moby Duck
 
“Ambitious and smart.”
—Publisher’s Weekly
 
“Terrible virus, fascinating history in Rabid.”
—NPR
 
“As entertaining as they are on rabies in culture, the authors also eruditely report on medicine and public health issues through history, from ancient Assyria to Bali to Manhattan in the last five years, showing that while the disease may be contained, it may never be fully conquered. Surprisingly fun reading about a fascinating malady.”
—Kirkus Reviews
 
“The ultimate weird dad book.”
—Very Short List
 
“The rabies virus is a microscopic particle of genes and proteins. And yet it has cast a fearful shadow over all of human history. Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy have produced an eerily elegant meditation on disease and madness, dogs and vampires. It's as infectious as its subject.”
—Carl Zimmer, NPR contributor and author of Parasite Rex
 
 “A fun read, rivaling a Stephen King novel for page-turning thrills.”
—The Awl

Kurzbeschreibung

A maddened creature, frothing at the mouth, lunges at an innocent victim—and, with a bite, transforms its prey into another raving monster. It’s a scenario that underlies our darkest tales of supernatural horror, but its power derives from a very real virus, a deadly scourge known to mankind from our earliest days. In this fascinating exploration, journalist Bill Wasik and veterinarian Monica Murphy chart four thousand years in the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies.

The most fatal virus known to science, rabies kills nearly 100 percent of its victims once the infection takes root in the brain. A disease that spreads avidly from animals to humans, rabies has served throughout history as a symbol of savage madness, of inhuman possession. And today, its history can help shed light on the wave of emerging diseases, from AIDS to SARS to avian flu, that we now know to originate in animal populations. 

From Greek myths to zombie flicks, from the laboratory heroics of Louis Pasteur to the contemporary search for a lifesaving treatment, Rabid is a fresh, fascinating, and often wildly entertaining look at one of mankind’s oldest and most fearsome foes. 

Produktinformation


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Kundenrezensionen

2.8 von 5 Sternen
2.8 von 5 Sternen
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Everything you ever wanted to know about rabies 29. Juli 2012
Von BLehner
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Many a virus has left its fatal mark on us throughout history, but none is as deeply steeped in legend as the most fatal of them all, the rabies virus. In Rabid Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy present an all-encompassing survey on the topic - from the early days to mythology, from literature to the latest in medicine.
At first glance you might get the impression that the focus in the book is heavily on the medical aspect, yet the authors offer a multifaceted depiction, delving into various areas on which rabies has left an impact throughout history. Filled with lots of facts it is mostly the intriguing background knowledge which made this book such an enjoyable read for me. Needless to say, my favorite part was the one dealing with how the disease found its way into literature, where aspects, or rather symptoms and beliefs about it, helped form creatures such as vampires, werewolves and even zombies.
Admittedly this has been the only book I ever read on this subject, so I'm not sure whether those who are familiar with it would find it lacking in some regard. However, to me, it proved to be just the right amount of information about the virus which is, after so many centuries, still at large. ... as are the creatures it has inspired in many a horror movie.
In short: Everything you ever wanted to know about rabies packed into an entertaining and absorbing read!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Partly interesting, but generally bloated 13. Januar 2013
Von Vezo
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
"Rabid" is certainly an interesting attempt to summarize mankind's sometimes all too intimate relationship with the (medically) fascinating rabies virus.

It does cover all the important points and the parts of this book actually directly related to rabies (e.g. Pasteur's development of a vaccine, the Bali outbreak, the experimental "Milwaukee" treatment) are without question a good read. Unfortunately those story lines wouldn't have been enough for a (generally understandable) book of this length and the information contained in those parts does not exceed what you could find out yourself with a few Google searches.

So, regrettably, the book was filled with a plethora of circumstantial information, most importantly a quite detailed history of how dogs became mankind's most abiding partners or an extensive coverage of other zoonoses.

In the end, it's not really a horrible book, but I don't really see the target audience for this unshaped heap of unrelated information. If you are truly interested in rabies, save your money and conduct a web research.
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2 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Ja, okay... 2. Februar 2013
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Habe nach einem Vorfall in Thailand und der Impfkampagne danach begonnen, mich in der Thema Tollwut einzulesen und bin auf eine reißerische Spiegel-Rezension über dieses Buch gestolpert. Also, die Rezension wird dem Buch nicht gerecht, es ist eher ein Rückblick auf die Kulturgeschichte der Tollwut, und das muss einen halt interessieren. Null Sterne für das Gebrabbel im Spiegel, drei fürs Buch, das doch irgendwie zur Allgemeinbildung beiträgt. Und irgendwie in der zweiten Hälfte auch spannend ist.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Hatte mehr erwartet 15. August 2013
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Um ehrlich zu sein hat mich das Buch enttäuscht. Richtig interessant sind erst die letzten Kapitel. Vieles, was die Autoren zum Thema "Kulturgeschichte der Tollwut" schreiben fand ich an den Haaren herbeigezogen oder sehr frei interpretiert.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 von 5 Sternen  139 Rezensionen
70 von 74 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen parts are a chore, but final chapters great 24. Juli 2012
Von Erin Satie - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
It is unfortunate that Rabid's best chapters fall at the end of the book. I loved reading about Louis Pasteur's experiments and the rabies outbreak in Bali. The author, Bill Wasik, finally has real personalities to work with, real scientific challenges to chronicle, real stories to tell. After slogging through the first two-thirds of Rabid I perked up and found myself thinking, "Well, most of this book was a chore to read but this...this!...would make a great magazine article."

And if that sounds like damning by faint praise, well...it's meant to. Rabid is not one of those books whose defined, narrow subject cuts an exciting trail through the vastness of history. It tries to be. It traces the emergence of rabies from ancient Egypt to the present, it grapples with the cultural history of animal domestication, the interplay between cultural prejudice and scientific discovery, the forward march of science and the sheer power of fear.

It would be awesome, except that it isn't. Huge chunks of the book are very academic, dense, factual prose. Which is interesting if the author has some revolutionary argument to make. Some brilliant idea to frame and polish. Wasik is just cataloguing what seems to be every single historical mention of rabies ever. I felt like I was reading an earnest undergraduate paper and I pitied all of my former professors.

The closer that Wasik gets to the present the more interesting his material. He's got chops enough to make the story of rabies in the modern world pretty fascinating - everything from Louis Pasteur to the present is great. All of a sudden he's writing narrative non-fiction of the kind I like most, where there's a story and characters, challenges to overcome, anecdotes to relate.

There's some good stuff in here, but I'd only recommend the book to people who are either (a) deeply, deeply interested in rabies or (b) really guiltless about skimming the boring bits.
31 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Horrifying - and compelling - look at a dark human fear 19. Juli 2012
Von NSW - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy have explored the disease in "Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus."

"Diabolic," defined as a characteristic of the devil, is a good word to use. The almost always-fatal (if untreated) virus renders its victims 'hydrophobic' - terrified of water. As the victims mind devolves into a virus-ravaged insanity, whatever personality once held by the person or animal disappears, replaced by a no-doubt devilish incoherence and rage.

Every 'zombie' movie basically has rabies as the model - an untreatable disease where killing the victim even before the disease's onset is considered the humane course of action. The authors use examples of Will Smith's "I Am Legend," where his character kills his dog, his only friend, as soon as a rabies-like condition presents itself, and "Old Yeller," the frontier tragedy, which saw the title character unfairly suffer the same fate.

"Rabies" is written as a cultural history, much more than a medical journal or report. It's mostly third-person, until the end. The authors do dwell on various treatment options - and a chapter is given to Louis Pastuer's discovery of the rabies vacciene. But their primary goal is showing how this disease has factored into various cultural fears for hundreds of years.

Even without much true scientific knowledge, the doctors of the Middle Ages and before could still see the link between a 'mad' dog's bite, and the similar, fatal condition that the victim might then suffer. The terror of such a ghastly disease - with such an obvious and common cause - would clearly have made it far more horrible than an equally fatal flu or cancer, where no such link existed.

The authors look into recent British fears about the English Channel Tunnel connecting England and France, and how this new landline might open the island of England to a rabies epidemic.

Which did recently occur in the island of Bali, the authors relate, where an inefficient and poorly executed dog-'culling' program was the response to an epidemic created when one rabid dog arrived on the island. Dozens of Bali, Indonesia citizens died of the disease despite the treatment options - in an island with no recorded rabies cases, nobody believed it could happen.

While at first I wasn't interested in a lengthy chapter that dealt with human's longstanding relationship with dogs, I soon realized that our love and sometimes mistreatment of our dogs comes from our own societal roots. We know that a good dog is loyal and friendly to a fault, but behind the playful eyes is our subconcious knowledge they sometimes carry this humanity-stripping disease.

Just as dogs have been hardwired with a domestic influence over thousands of years, it's fair to say that our cultural reliance on rabies-based horror choices came from generations of this back-of-the-mind fear of an animal we take for granted - until their bite drives us insane.

It is not a "fun" book, but it is exciting and horrifiying, and that does make it compelling and interesting.

This review is based on a complimentary advance review copy.
41 von 52 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A Good and Worthwhile Book 19. Juli 2012
Von Kenneth E. MacWilliams - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is the second book about the history of a specific medical scourge that I have read in the past year and one half. The first was Siddhartha Mukherjee's Pulitzer Prize winning "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" (please see my Amazon review). With "Rapid" I hoped for a second such extraordinary and wonderful ride. What came most to mind though is what Senator Lloyd Bentsen replied to Senator Dan Quayle during the 1988 vice-presidential debate: "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

That's a somewhat unfair comparison though, and it's not to say that "Rabid" is not a good book, because it is. It's simply that few books can match "Emperor". "Rapid" is just exactly what its husband and wife authors William Wasik, senior editor of Wired Magazine and veterinarian Monica Murphy say it is -- "a cultural history". "Rapid" saves you doing an internet search using such search words and phrases as "Rabies", "Rabies in Popular Culture", "Rabies History", "Rabies Historical Timeline" and then exploring the many resultant links. And then it pulls all of these play-by-play results together for you, sifts and organizes and edits them, expands a bit on them in some key places, and throws in a lot of juicy color commentary along the way. From the emergence of this horrible problem of rabies at the dawn of mankind and mythology, on down to its scientific discovery and cure, and then on to current medical practice, the authors spread across their book's landscape multiple tales of madness and its often grotesque consequences including how it rears its ugly and frightening head so often in literature.

Do you remember years ago the very long, in depth pieces The New Yorker used to publish on various narrow subjects which were of great interest to those who were already interested in or curious about the subject? Sometimes they were so long they were carried in two parts, over two issues. I think "Rabies" would have been a terrific candidate for such a long piece and William Shawn would have dedicated the space and the needed editorial guidance.

Looked at from that perspective "Rabid" is really pretty good, though stylistically it felt uneven. The second half of the book is more gripping than the first which is almost super-saturated with facts and sometimes was a hard slog for me. Nevertheless, it is easy to skim over those parts, flying at the 15,000 feet level, quickly surveying the territory below, and then slowing down and diving down to 500 feet or maybe even to land temporarily when at various points the book's review of the march of the historical and cultural timeline of rabies sufficiently attracts you.

If you are a reader with only passing and somewhat cursory interest in this subject, and if even at that you are more interested in the historical and cultural aspects of rabies than the medical, I would tell you that it would certainly be worth your while to read this book because the overall subject of rabies itself is fascinating. But I would add the caution that you should be careful not to get bogged down in any one part of it that seems slow. For such a reader I would give it four stars. However, if you are a lay reader keenly interested in medicine and medical science, and in viruses and rabies in particular, then for you I would rate it three stars and I would suggest that you read "Emperor" first if you have not already done so. But since I can only give one rating, and because the subject of rabies is so important, I give "Rabid" an overall four stars.

Kenneth E. MacWilliams
Portland, Maine
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Expected better 17. August 2012
Von Jeani Rector - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I saw this book mentioned in a science magazine and thought, "I have to read this."

So I bought it, expecting to find a lot of interesting, even exciting case studies about rabies.

Instead, I was unhappy to discover that the entire first half of the book was devoted to myths and legends and fables and none of those were even interesting. It seemed to go into a lot of tangents and never seemed to say much specifically.

RABID finally got "to the point" when it began to discuss Louis Pasteur. It seemed to finally get focused, but remember by then, it was halfway through the book.

If you want a more comprehensive book about rabies, I recommend BIOGRAPHIES OF DISEASE: RABIES by P. Dileep Kumar. Kumar's book actually goes into more case studies about people who have contracted the disease and what happened to those people. Although Kumar's book does seem to be a bit technical for the layperson at times and therefore can be a little dry, it nonetheless exposes rabies for the horror it truly is, more so than does this book RABID, which to me, deals too much in legends and myths.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Everything you ever wanted to know about rabies 29. Juli 2012
Von BLehner - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Many a virus has left its fatal mark on us throughout history, but none is as deeply steeped in legend as the most fatal of them all, the rabies virus. In Rabid Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy present an all-encompassing survey on the topic - from the early days to mythology, from literature to the latest in medicine.
At first glance you might get the impression that the focus in the book is heavily on the medical aspect, yet the authors offer a multifaceted depiction, delving into various areas on which rabies has left an impact throughout history. Filled with lots of facts it is mostly the intriguing background knowledge which made this book such an enjoyable read for me. Needless to say, my favorite part was the one dealing with how the disease found its way into literature, where aspects, or rather symptoms and beliefs about it, helped form creatures such as vampires, werewolves and even zombies.
Admittedly this has been the only book I ever read on this subject, so I'm not sure whether those who are familiar with it would find it lacking in some regard. However, to me, it proved to be just the right amount of information about the virus which is, after so many centuries, still at large. ... as are the creatures it has inspired in many a horror movie.
In short: Everything you ever wanted to know about rabies packed into an entertaining and absorbing read!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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