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“A frightening and fascinating masterpiece of science reporting that reads like a detective story.” —Walter Isaacson
In 1976 a deadly virus emerged from the Congo forest. As swiftly as it came, it disappeared, leaving no trace. Over the four decades since, Ebola has emerged sporadically, each time to devastating effect. It can kill up to 90 percent of its victims. In between these outbreaks, it is untraceable, hiding deep in the jungle. The search is on to find Ebola’s elusive host animal. And until we find it, Ebola will continue to strike. Acclaimed science writer and explorer David Quammen first came near the virus while he was traveling in the jungles of Gabon, accompanied by local men whose village had been devastated by a recent outbreak. Here he tells the story of Ebola—its past, present, and its unknowable future.
Extracted from Spillover by David Quammen, updated and with additional material.
About the Author
David Quammen is the author of The Song of the Dodo, among other books. He has been honored with the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing, an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an award in the art of the essay from PEN, and (three times) the National Magazine Award. Quammen is also a contributing writer for National Geographic. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.
Quammen is not just among our best science writers but among our best writers.
— New York Times
A tidy book that explains everything we know, and everything we don't, about this terrifying disease.
— Nick Stockton - Wired
This slender book …does a nimble job of situating this year’s unnerving events in historical context… [Quammen's] book, like most writing about Ebola, is deeply unsettling, but it’s also sober minded, and in this respect, a standout in the floodlet of Ebola books, many of them quickie scare guides and medical thrillers.
— Michiko Kakutani - New York Times Book Review
David Quammen is a brilliant star of nature writing.
— Edward O. Wilson
David Quammen is a master.
— Bill Bryson