Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic
A masterpiece of science reporting that tracks the animal origins of emerging human diseases, Spillover is fascinating and terrifying a real-life thriller with an outcome that affects us all (Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction).In 2020, the novel coronavirus gripped the world in a global pandemic and led to the death of hundreds of thousands. The source of the previously unknown virus? Bats. This phenomenonin which a new pathogen comes to humans from wildlifeis known as spillover, and it may not be long before it happens again.
Prior to the emergence of our latest health crisis, renowned science writer David Quammen was traveling the globe to better understand spillovers devastating potential. For five years he followed scientists to a rooftop in Bangladesh, a forest in the Congo, a Chinese rat farm, and a suburban woodland in New York, and through high-biosecurity laboratories. He interviewed survivors and gathered stories of the dead. He found surprises in the latest research, alarm among public health officials, and deep concern in the eyes of researchers.
Spillover delivers the science, the history, the mystery, and the human anguish of disease outbreaks as gripping drama. And it asks questions more urgent now than ever before: From what innocent creature, in what remote landscape, will the Next Big One emerge? Are pandemics independent misfortunes, or linked? Are they merely happening to us, or are we somehow causing them? What can be done? Quammen traces the origins of Ebola, Marburg, SARS, avian influenza, Lyme disease, and other bizarre cases of spillover, including the grim, unexpected story of how AIDS began from a single Cameroonian chimpanzee. The result is more than a clarion work of reportage. Its also the elegantly told tale of a quest, through time and landscape, for a new understanding of how our world worksand how we can survive within it.
Praise For Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic…
Nathan Wolfe - Nature
An adventure-filled page-turnertold from the front lines of pandemic prevention.
Lizzie Wade - Wired
As page turning as Richard Prestons The Hot Zone[Quammen is] one of the best science writers.
David Quammen might be my favorite living science writer: amiable, erudite, understated, incredibly funny, profoundly humane.
Kathryn Schulz - New York Magazine
Quammen balances the technical terms with gorily gripping description and scenes from his own fearless journeysBut his real gift is his writing, with its nice balance of reverence and whimsy.
Chlo Schama - Smithsonian
Quammens more teacher than Jeremiah. So he calms when he can; but hes blunt when he must be.
Jeffrey Burke - Bloomberg
The scariest book youll read this year.
The Daily Beast
[An] ambitious and encyclopedic voyageMr. Quammen does a beautiful job of showing how so much of scientific knowledge is provisional, with great unknowns about infectious diseases.
Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone
David Quammen has done it again. Fascinating and terrifying, Spillover is a real-life thriller with an outcome that affects us all.
Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction
This is a frightening and fascinating masterpiece of science reporting that reads like a detective story. David Quammen takes us on a quest to understand AIDS, Ebola, and other diseases that share a frightening commonality: they all jumped from wild animals to humans. By explaining this growing trend, Quammen not only provides a warning about the diseases we will face in the future, he also causes us to reflect on our place as humans in the earths ecosystem.
Walter Isaacson, author of Leonardo Da Vinci
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393346619, 592pp.
Publication Date: September 9, 2013