9780670023738

Rabid : A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9780670023738

  • ISBN10:

    0670023736

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-07-19
  • Publisher: Viking Adult

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Summary

An engrossing and lively history of the fearsome and mythologized virus In the tradition of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Great Influenza, journalist Bill Wasik and veterinarian Monica Murphy chart the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies. In the absence of vaccination- as was true for thousands of years, until the late nineteenth century-the rabies virus caused brain infections with a nearly 100 percent fatality rate, both in animals and humans, and the suffering it inflicted became the stuff of legend. The transmission of the virus-often from rabid dog to man-reawakened a primal fear of wild animals, and the illness's violent symptoms spoke directly to mankind's fear of the beast within. The cultural response was to create fictional embodiments of those anxieties-ravenous wolfmen, bloodsucking vampires, and armies of mindless zombies. From the myth of Actaeon to Saint Hubert, from the laboratories of the heroic and pioneering Louis Pasteur to a journalistic investigation into the madness that has gripped modern Bali, Rabid is a fresh, fascinating, and often wildly entertaining look at one of the world's most misunderstood viruses.

Author Biography

Bill Wasik is a senior editor at Harper’s magazine, where he has written on culture, media, and politics. He is the editor of the anthology Submersion Journalism and has also written for The Oxford American, Slate, Salon, and McSweeney’s.

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