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

Rabid by Bill Wasik
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Jul 31, 12

Read in July, 2012

This book is a fascinating read—both the science and cultural history of rabies are described very well. The authors cover the disease from ancient Babylon (complete with an ancient joke) to modern times, with stops in Greece, medieval Europe and Victorian England. There is also an entire chapter devoted to Louis Pasteur, the creator (with a lot of help from his assistants) of the rabies vaccine. There is a lot about the history of dogs in our society, since dogs were the main carriers of rabies until modern times. Even with all of the information the authors provided, the book moves at a brisk pace but never feels as if any information was left out about this disease.

I really enjoyed the book; however, I did have two small problems. First, the notes at the back of the book were not annotated in the text—it made it difficult to follow along. This is a personal quibble but it does irritate me. Second, the tone of the book was a little inconsistent at times. It occasionally seemed as if the two portions (the science and the cultural history of the disease) worked against each other. These are only small complaints, though. The book was both informative and entertaining and worth adding to my personal library.
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