Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs

by Michael T. Osterholm Phd Mph

Hardcover, 2017


Little, Brown Spark (2017), Edition: 1, 352 pages


Infectious disease has the terrifying power to disrupt everyday life on a global scale, overwhelming public and private resources and bringing trade and transportation to a halt. In today's world, it's easier than ever to move people, animals, and materials around the planet, but the same advances that make modern infrastructure so efficient have made epidemics and even pandemics nearly inevitable. So what can -- and must -- we do in order to protect ourselves? Drawing on the latest medical science, case studies, and policy research, Deadliest enemy explores the resources and programs we need to develop if we are to keep ourselves safe from infectious disease.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Stbalbach
Michael T. Osterholm is an expert on infectious diseases. He runs his own institution at the University of Minnesota. He is a public speaker and that is how I heard about him (on Joe Rogan), he is a sharp and focused individual worth paying attention to. The book published in 2017 is a siren alarm
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that a SARS pandemic is coming. He says it will probably come out of China, then proceeds to describe events that we are familiar with, even predicting the closing of baseball season. He covers other problems such as antibiotic resistance, Ebola, etc.. the usual suspects and some I never heard of before. Osterholm is not the first person to predict it, but maybe the most high profile and recent. This is not journalism but written by an expert for a general audience meant to educate more than titillate (such the Hot Zone) and it does entertain in parts. It is a prescient "Prelude" to the many history books that will be soon be arriving.
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LibraryThing member dhmontgomery
An easily readable summary of the biggest epidemiological risks facing the world today. It's also part memoir, and those first-person parts from Osterholm's accomplished life were to me the weakest part of the book. But as a summary of the risks from influenza, antibiotic-resistant germs, SARS,
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AIDS, mosquitos and other health risks, it was both an informative summary and a thought-provoking polemic.
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LibraryThing member larryerick
For folks who generally don't pay much attention to what's going on around them, this book is better than my rating may imply. They'll learn quite a lot. For those who don't follow science, this book is beyond your comprehension. For many of the others, this book will be a bit disjointed. Sometimes
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-- the bulk of the time -- it is a lucid, concise explanation of the world and the world of infectious diseases. At too many other times, it seems more like a seminar given at a medical convention. At others still, it seems more like a expert panel testifying to government policy wonks. In short, for the "average Joe or Josey", there will be sections where the author will be talking right past you. Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe the average citizen knows whether we really need $200 million or $2 billion for a particular government health care initiative. I don't. Having said all that, for the potential reader soaking up the bulk of the narrative about diseases and what it means for we average citizens, before starting to read this, please realize that the book was originally published about three years before the COVID-19 pandemic struck world-wide. (There's a COVID preface in the latest edition.) Of course, SARS and MERS and ebola and H1N1 and a host of other deadliest enemies had been threatening in recent years, so it had made sense that the U.S. federal administration had prepared a plan to confront the next health care tsunami. And then the tsunami struck and the wisest person in the world -- just ask him -- threw it all out the window. The result? Pretty much everything that this books primary author predicted -- warned -- would happen, then happened BIG TIME. The one thing the book does not dwell on is the willingness of millions of people to treat science as the disease worth fighting. You read. You judge.
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Original publication date



0316343692 / 9780316343695
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