A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus
On Sale: July 19, 2012
Hardcover / e-Book
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An engrossing and lively history of the fearsome and
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 vaccinationâ€” as was
true for thousands of years, until the late nineteenth
centuryâ€”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
The transmission of the virusâ€”often from rabid dog to
manâ€”reawakened a primal fear of wild animals, and the
illnessâ€™s violent symptoms spoke directly to mankindâ€™s fear
of the beast within. The cultural response was to create
fictional embodiments of those anxietiesâ€”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 worldâ€™s most misunderstood
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