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Crisis in the Red Zone: The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  4,666 ratings  ·  718 reviews
The 2013–2014 Ebola epidemic was the deadliest ever—but the outbreaks continue. Now comes a gripping account of the doctors and scientists fighting to protect us, an urgent wake-up call about the future of emerging viruses—from the #1 bestselling author of The Hot Zone, soon to be a National Geographic original miniseries.

This time, Ebola started with a two-year-old child
Hardcover, 375 pages
Published July 23rd 2019 by Random House
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Scooter McDermitt As Rebecca said below, some people received the book as an ARC. Most of my reading is through ARCs these days and I have books that aren't going to be…moreAs Rebecca said below, some people received the book as an ARC. Most of my reading is through ARCs these days and I have books that aren't going to be published until late 2019 and early 2020. The publisher does this to receive feedback from readers, to generate buzz, and learn what resonates with the early readers to shape their advertising campaign. (less)

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Start your review of Crisis in the Red Zone: The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5+++++ stars – but proceed with caution!

While I was kind of goofy with my status messages throughout this book, I would definitely say that was a defense mechanism. This book is very serious and very scary. Touted as a sequel to Preston’s enthralling book, The Hot Zone, this book is equally mesmerizing! I have no problem declaring Preston the master of Non-Fiction bio-hazard books. If you have any interest in how scary nature can be, you must check his work out!

Again, this book is 100% fact – an
Mario the lone bookwolf
A biomedical, microbiological and terrifying trip to tiny superpredators and some thoughts about how they may evolve and be (mis)used.

The suffering of the populations of these countries is as unbelievable and the courage of the help workers who had to fight against fake news denying the existence of ebola, people stealing infected family members from hospitals and the tradition of rinsing the bodies of the deceased to bathe in the same water. Tragic cases of misleading cultural norms that made
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Crisis in the Red Zone tells of the horrific 2013-2014 Ebola epidemic that engulfed Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, and eventually infected almost 30,000 people. While the virus stretched the financial and medical infrastructure of these three countries, the book focuses geographically on the Makona Triangle, where the virus first grabbed hold and exploded, and on Kenema Government Hospital as it quickly became overwhelmed beyond its limits as the only hospital in Sierra Leone with a function ...more
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I came into this book with both curiosity and some slight trepidation that it might not quite mesh with my current active interest in the Coronavirus. Different kinds of sickness, speed, and symptoms. Ebola is much more deadly, while Coronavirus had the potential to spread across the world and kill even more.

Even so, I dove in and quickly fell into a story that was almost pure horror. It was worse because everything in it was true.

Do you want descriptions that would turn the stomachs of even th
This book is outstanding! It focuses on the deadly Ebola outbreak that swept through Guinea in 2014. The bravery and selflessness of frontline workers, volunteers and doctors are truly amazing. Sadly, many perished trying to save others.

What left me in awe is the MSF or Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders code of conduct. I just can't believe it. For equality sake, with ONE set of experimental drug sitting in the freezer, let's keep it since not everyone can get it. Need IV drip? I
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tucker by: Matthew

Many thanks to Random House for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

I would like to start this review by warning you guys that this book is depressing as f**k. I felt as though the basic message was: Ebola came to eradicate humanity but it failed but don’t worry! It will be back to kill us all.

Crisis in the Red Zone is the story of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. I distinctly remember that time because my anxiety was through the roof. During that time, I was compulsively washing my hand
donna backshall
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who is interested in world health
Wow, wow, just wow. A good thriller is that much scarier when IT'S FREAKING REAL.

Review to come, but first I need to bathe, to scrub my skin raw and try to shake the feeling that everything and everyone I've come in contact with is teeming with the ebola virus. Seriously, I'm terrified. We all should be.
Okay, review time!

Richard Preston can write a true thriller like no one else I've read. He gets into the grit of recent events as they unfold and puts us RIGHT
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ebola. One of the scariest words in the human language. Because it's one of the scariest viruses one can imagine.

There is not too much known about it. The symptoms, of course, because we see the suffering of the infected. But we have no idea where it came from, how long it's been on this planet, how it evolved or anything like that.
We do know that there are 6 different types of ebola virus so far but considering how fast viruses can mutate, that doesn't mean too much. The six types are named aft
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
“[The Ebola outbreak] was really just a series of small accidents and unnoticed events, which, moment by moment, grew into a crescendo of horror. This was the shockwave produced by an emerging virus as it came out of the ecosystem. The virus magnified itself in people, swept away lives, met opposition from the human species, and finally died out. What will the next shockwave be like?”

This is an informative book that didn’t quite mesh with my own personal interests. It traces the spread of Ebola
Dave Schaafsma
I don't usually read #1 NY Times bestsellers, nor books that are described as "medical thrillers," but here we are in late July with millions of people infected worldwide with Covid 19, so I nevertheless decided to read Crisis in the Red Zone: The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and the Outbreaks to Come, and was, in short, riveted. And disgusted by the level of detail with respect to the dead and dying. And moved to tears as people we come to know face death and ethical decisi ...more
Aug 15, 2019 rated it liked it
This is thorough but at the same time not as good in continuity, progression, ease to read. Much harder to understand all the tangent parts as in his other disease study- The Hot Zone.

Well worth the read time regardless- yet it's all over the place with 100's of name calls and situations that are difficult to connote all together in the way they are placed and in a chronological pattern which is convoluted, IMHO . It still lets you know pertinent information about the present day 6 strains of E
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Everything you want to know about Ebola and more. This is a medical history story that reads like a thriller. There’s lots of players to keep track of, some medical miracles and lucky discoveries by otherwise unemployed entrepreneurs. This book carries a dire warning of the continued need to stay on top of best practice for viral outbreaks. Mistrust of outsiders, belief in local and known healers, and lack of proper equipment, medication and supplies all figure in to this outbreak. There are man ...more
Laura Noggle
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, nonfiction, history
Exhausting — yet essential reading.

This book has a slight edge over The Hot Zone IMO, although they're both exceptional nonfiction reads.

Not sure it was particularly wise to read these two back-to-back this month, but they really did put things into perspective.

Thankfully we are not currently facing an Ebola outbreak that averages a BLOODY death toll of between 25-90%.

So on one hand, I'm relieved that the average death rate of the current pandemic is MUCH lower, and way less gory than that of E
Mar 21, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
Richard Preston has a real knack making non-fiction as gripping as can be. This one tells the story of the 2013/2014 Ebola epidemic. His other book, The Hot Zone, which is also about Ebola, was far better.

I didn’t care for all the chronological jumping around, plus there were far too many characters. This book was still interesting, just not his best.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“A liter of seawater contains more virus particles than any other form of life.”

“Hiccups are a classic sign o
Alex Givant
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With current corona-virus outbreak it's good to get some perspective on other deadly viruses such as Ebola. Did you know that 1.5 millions die annually from TB alone? How about regular flu - around 60 thousands gone last year. When was last time you worried about TB or flu? We are scared of wrong stuff, stuff they show us on TV with "Breaking News" red color frame. Read the book and get information and most important of all things - wash your hands often! ...more
Aug 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
NYTimes Book Review here:

NYTimes Book Review NONFICTION
Can You Make a Page-Turning Thriller Out of the Ebola Crisis?
By Kendra Pierre-Louis
Aug. 8, 2019


The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come

By Richard Preston

Richard Preston has a penchant for the cinematic, even when his subject matter could not be more depressing and dire. His best-selling 1994 book, “The Hot Zone,” about an Ebola outbr
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Cripes, substitute 'coronavirus' for every mention of ebola, and there you go, that's what happens, that's how you make mistakes, that's how you do - or DO NOT - contain a deadly pandemic.

Okay, I know the two are not remotely the same thing, biologically-speaking, and that one is far worse in terms of deaths, horrible symptoms, difficulty of treatment, and so on, but the methodology for dealing with diseases that spread quickly, easily, and can go from a dozen cases to thousands in just a few we
Montzalee Wittmann
Mar 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Crisis in the Red Zone: The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come
by Richard Preston

I read The Hot Zone which dealt with the Ebola crisis in 1970's and I enjoyed how thorough the book was. This book is even better! It goes back and introduces the reader to what happened in 1970's. Then it mostly concentrates on 2013-2014. The information is presented in such a way that most of the nurses and doctors become more than just a name but a real person. We, the r
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not as good as the Hot Zone, but definitely worth a read. My main complaint is the amount of repetition. Preston thanks the book’s editor by name, so we know the book had one, but what happened? Perhaps the editor had more pressing responsibilities. My other complaint is that it wasn’t necessary for Preston to meander into the area of scare tactics; Ebola is plenty frightening enough without that. Particularly at the end of the book, he starts with the “what if‘s“, a bunch of questions that no o ...more
Toya (the reading chemist)
I read The Hot Zone over a decade ago, and I instantly fell in love with Richard Preston’s writing. As someone who has always loved science, especially virology, Ebola was always the virus that I found to be the most fascinating and also most terrifying. It’s one of the simplest viruses (as contagious as the common cold), it has the capacity to cross-species jump and evolve, and it completely decimates the human immune system in just 7-10 days (something that takes YEARS for HIV to do). That bei ...more
Doreen Petersen
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: medical
This book is the sequel to The Hot Zone. Although both books deal with the Ebola virus it is my opinion that it would be very wise to read both. With the current COVID pandemic there are a lot of lessons to be learned from the past.
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
Having just recently read Richard Preston's hit book The Hot Zone, I was excited to see that he was releasing a follow up dealing with the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa in 2013-2014. I loved The Hot Zone and had even watched the National Geographic miniseries based upon the book. However, I must say I was deeply disappointed in Preston's newest Ebola story.

Crisis in the Red Zone tells the story of the recent spread of Ebola through Africa, particularly in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Starting with
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
I'm not sure what happened here. Maybe they didn't have time for any editing? The story moves ponderously. Maybe that's fine; the details engross us more. But the writing is repetitive—very, very repetitive. It's enough to say a fact once or twice. I don't need to be told 500 times that ZMapp hadn't been tested on humans. Reading pages and pages about a character's inability to make up his mind is also tedious. Finally, I think Preston misses the scope. There is a very narrow central crisis, and ...more
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
RR Rating: 3 gag-inducing stars
Format: Audiobook, 13 hrs 2 mins, narrated by Ray Porter, pub. 7/23/19
RR Synopsis: People get, spread, research, and fight Ebola, and it’s gross.
RR POV: THE HOT ZONE has a tighter narrative and kept my attention better, but as a fan of biomedical nonfiction I’ll still give it a thumbs up.
Recommended Readers: Those who’ve read Preston’s THE HOT ZONE and just can’t get enough Ebola.
Pro tip: Speaking from experience, listeners of the audiobook will want to avoid coo
Angus McKeogh
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Perhaps not as gripping as some of his other books on plagues, this one still carried the relevant gravitas to continue pushing the story forward and make the reader wonder what was going to happen next. As with a lot of modern news there’s a bit of a flash in the pan effect. Big story one day disappears days later because something else comes up. I remember a flare up of Ebola in the United States years back and some people vanishing into quarantine for treatment at the NIH; thereafter the stor ...more
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
Full RTC—why oh why did I listen to this in the middle of a pandemic???
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biology
I'd been wanting to read this book ever since it came out in late 2019. In March 2020 when all these rumours about a total lockdown in Germany started I decided that, should it really happen, I'd buy Crisis in the Red Zone, just to make lockdown feel a bit better (yeah, a book about a deadly virus will make you feel better during a global pandemic..right??)

The book tells the story of the 2013-2014 Ebola outbreak in equatorial Africa. Ist main focus lies on a small under-resourced hospital that h
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous! Crisis in the Red Zone riveted me from the start. It details the Ebola epidemic from a few years ago, focusing on a hospital in Sierra Leone and another one in Liberia. I learned a TON.

I would probably recommend waiting to read this until the COVID 19 stuff calms down. If that ever happens. Richard Preston does not spare you the details. He is concise, unflinching, even blunt. Due to that, I recommend holding off on reading this if you are even a bit anxious about COVID19.

Near the end
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, covid-reads
At the end of the book, the author poses a question: what would happen if a serious, contagious virus exploded in New York?

“[Perhaps] a dry virus with high mortality that infects people through the lungs. We can imagine . . . police officers wearing full PPE gear. People needing ambulances—no ambulances. Hospitals gone medieval. Medical staff absent, dying, overwhelmed. Hospital beds full. Medical examiner facilities gone hot as hell and crammed with corpses. Nobody in their right mind would en
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
What would it be like if a Level 4 virus event occurred and the Ancient Rule arrived in the supercity of New York? It wouldn't take much to produce the Ancient Rule in New York City. A dry virus with high mortality that infects people through the lungs. No vaccine, no medical treatment for the virus. If you take the subway, if you ride in an elevator, you can be infected, too. If the Ancient Rule came to New York City, we can imagine people lying facedown on the street or in Central Park, crowds
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Play Book Tag: Crisis in the Red Zone by Richard Preston -- 4 stars 12 17 Feb 14, 2020 02:16AM  

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Richard Preston is a journalist and nonfiction writer.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

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