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Rabid: A Cultural History of the…

Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Bill Wasik (Author)

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4342835,135 (3.71)40
Title:Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus
Authors:Bill Wasik (Author)
Info:Penguin Books (2013), Edition: Reprint, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik (2012)


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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
I'm hovering between three and four stars for this book.

Rabies is a fascinating topic. The disease, once symptoms show (in particular hydrophobia), had a 100% fatality rate until less than a decade ago. Even now, it's uncertain whether a natural partial immunity exists within some people, or if the protocols recently discovered are responsible for people's survival. This uncertainty is something that has existed throughout all of rabies history. The question of what caused the disease ended in the discovery of viruses, and the creation of a vaccine created the very field of immunology. Rabies demanded innovation, as it is the disease the lives on most prominently within our very psyches.

The book digs deep into rabies' grip on us. It talks about rabies in folklore, how it relates to the vampire, the werewolf, and especially the modern zombie. The etymology of the name of the disease itself is fascinating, as is how it has influenced our feelings towards dogs, and more, how our very love of dogs has us vulnerable and how that love can't really be overcome.

This is a fascinating book, and a worthy one. I'm glad so many of my friends are intrigued by it and I hope they'll pick it up eventually. While it's no [b: The Hot Zone|16220|Hot Stuff (Hot Zone, #1)|Carly Phillips|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1388663492s/16220.jpg|23640095], if you've an interest in folklore and history, and a love of dogs, I think this will be a book you'll enjoy. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
I found this to be an extremely interesting and quite amusing book. It tracks the history of rabies through the millennia and discusses various treatment attempts, vaccination protocols and methods of control. There are many anecdotes told and scientific reports discussed with a real world review of the effects of the disease. It also discusses the human view of rabies through time including folklore reference to vampires and zombies. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of disease, the struggles to cope with it and have a bit of a laugh along the way. The style is both serious and tongue in cheek in places so it appeals to a wide audience. A good read. ( )
  KatiaMDavis | Dec 19, 2017 |
Karen took me to the bookstore to pick out a book (or two, or three) for my birthday, and this one jumped out at me for obvious reasons. (I'd had to get the full round of rabies shots after being bitten by a bat at work a few years ago.) I immediately jumped into it, then found out it was a favorite book of Mrs. Wolf! (Jefferson's 3rd grade "Western" teacher -- rapidly becoming one of my favorite people.)

But I wanted to love this book far more than I actually did. Maybe my expectations were too high, maybe it tried to do too many things in too small a book, maybe it rode the line too hard between academic and pop non-fiction, and I might have preferred it if it had fallen solidly on one side or the other, I don't know. But as the book moved forward and got closer to talking about rabies in modern times, I liked it more and more. The section on the invention of the rabies vaccine was great, as was a bit on an outbreak in NYC.

But it wasn't ever that I disliked the book, there was so much fascinating material here that I wouldn't ever say that. It was only that certain parts (especially the rabies and mythical monsters section) left me wanting more.

Good read. Needs more werewolves. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
I wanted—want—to like this book, I really did/do.

But in the first place, the style is painfully overblown. If the book were a Shakespeare performance, the lines would be declaimed melodramatically rather than just spoken. It's grating and makes it harder to bear reading what's been written.

The first chapter is supposedly about the ancient cultural history of rabies. There are exactly two genuine examples of rabies having cultural significance in some part of the ancient world. The rest of the chapter is spent on what ancient writers had to say about rabies treatment and about dogs. Some of the connections the book tries to make seem weaselly (e.g., trying to impute a connection to rabies that isn't clearly present in an ancient passage). The fact is that there just isn't enough to say about the cultural meaning of rabies in the ancient world to justify the chapter. And while it's true that dogs had much more ancient cultural significance than rabies, little of it had anything to do with rabies so most of the stuff about dogs is just there as padding. (If the ancients' takes on dogs are your thing, great; but I want to know about rabies.) Also I suspect there's a lot more about dogs in ancient writings than this book covers, so I don't trust it even to have represented that topic very well.
  drbubbles | Jul 29, 2017 |
Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy is a wonderful and insightful look into the history of this deadly virus. This book covers the myths, old remedies, different animals effected, several famous cases, the search for a vaccine, and so much more. It also describes the symptoms of the virus, the length of time for symptoms to appear and what may change this, etc. Very detailed without being boring. Great book.I got the audio version from the library. ( )
  MontzaleeW | Apr 13, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bill Wasikprimary authorall editionscalculated
Murphy, Monicamain authorall editionsconfirmed
Heller, JohnnyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Haiku summary
Rabid bites meant death
Until heroic people
Made discoveries

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Charts the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies, documenting how before its vaccine the disease caused fatal brain infections and sparked the creations of monsters, including werewolves, vampires and zombies.

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