Influenza: The Hundred Year Hunt to Cure the Deadliest Disease in History
Audiobook – Unabridged
Dr. Jeremy Brown (Author)
Holter Graham (Narrator)
Simon & Schuster Audio (Publisher)
Dr. Jeremy Brown has written an easy to read history of the influenza virus that reads like the best of detective fiction. His writing combined with Holter Graham's warm narration make a very approachable look at a fascinating and frankly terrifying subject. It is an audiobook that I will listen to again.
Many readers are acquainted with the Spanish Flu that killed millions in 1919. The Prologue tells the story of a flu victim, a healthy young woman, who almost died. Not in underdeveloped country and not in 1919. It was in the United States in 2013. Brown's book creates a very understandable link between the historic flu, the present strains, and what the future of the flu could be. Brown also educates us on historic flu treatments (enemas!) and recent treatments like Tamiflu.
Influenza will be a wonderful read for those who enjoy history, medical mysteries, as well as the economics of pharmacology. I enjoyed the writing style and the narration equally. I would be interested in other books written by Dr. Jeremy Brown and/or narrated by Holter Graham.
Jane Stanton Hitchcock's Bluff is a wonderful book. For me, it is reminiscent of the many Dominick Dunne books I read. It gives the reader a wonderful look at the lives of the 1% and how miserable they can be. Maud Warner is a wonderful character. She is a lady of what my mother's generation called, "a certain age." She lets us into her story when she walks into the Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan, shots a man, and walks back out unaccosted. Hitchcock writes this wonderful line, "Older women are invisible and we don't even have to disappear." The characters are well fleshed out, not just the main protagonist. The action is believable. Bluff is a very enjoyable read. I am looking forward to reading more of her work.
I won an e-book copy of Bluff from BookishFirst.com. I have written an honest review.
Finding John by Andrew Serra was heartbreaking, terrifying, and a great piece of investigative reporting. Serra was a member of the New York Fire Department's Red Hook Engine 279 and Ladder 131. My brother who is retired from the FDNY also served in that house on 9/11. He felt the book was important enough to send copies to all his siblings (and there are a lot of us).
Serra tells the story of his experience at Ground Zero, not only on 9/11 but also in the months that followed. Most people are aware of the events surrounding the fall of the Twin Towers but few have heard the story of the months of work on the Pile. Every day for many, many months after firefighters were detailed to work on the Pile. Many also worked it on their time off. Serra describes finding a fellow fight fighter, John Tipping II, in the debris. Tipping was a member of Engine 54 and Ladder 4.
When the towers collapsed, so did much of the structure around them. Ladder 4 was parked next to one of the buildings. As the buildings collapsed so did the sidewalks around them talking Ladder 4 with them. Ladder 4 come to rest, mostly intact, several levels down on the shopping mezzanine. A prominent writer who spent the year following the attacks with the engineers and construction crews made the claim that looting had occurred by firefighters before they went in to save those they could. He based this claim on someone telling him that pairs of new jeans had been found in Ladder 4. Every single member of Ladder 4 died on 9/11 and now their names were being tarnished by hearsay.
Serra does a fantastic job of investigative journalism. He proves with eyewitness testimony plus the help of Charles Pelligrino, a scientific writer that the members of Ladder 4 went directly to their deaths that day. They did not stop for anything, even the realization that they probably would not survive. This book is a must read. Not only for the investigative journalism but also for the eyewitness view of the aftermath of 9/11. Serra shares his experiences working the pile, attending many of the 343 funerals, watching FDNY's members contract the illness from working the pile. I highly recommend Finding John. I would suggest to Serra that he and his publisher look into having an audiobook made. With a good narrator, Finding John can find a whole new audience.