In this medical drama, Richard Preston deeply chronicles the outbreak, in which we saw for the first time the specter of Ebola jumping continents, crossing the Atlantic, and infecting people in America. from the #1 bestselling author of The Hot Zone.
... gripping first-person accounts and medical oddities ... Preston brings nuance and humanity to this story in a way few can, explaining that the volatile virus is often transmitted during rituals, celebrations and burial ceremonies ... There have been more than 30,000 cases of Ebola, but it still seems like a disease of a far-away land, something that ravages small villages on the other side of the world. Preston’s reporting challenges that perception, explaining how the virus – and other emerging pathogens like it – touches us all. By the end of this exhilarating book, you’ll agree with his ominous conclusion: There is no such thing as one case of Ebola.
...[a] harrowing, horrifying new book ... Knowing, as we do, that the 2014 Ebola outbreak did reach the United States and infected health-care workers here, and nearly spread to Lagos, Nigeria, a city of 20 million, before it was snuffed out, does nothing to diminish the power of Crisis in the Red Zone. A major flaw of the work, in fact, is that Preston barely mentions the world beyond Kenema ... Nor do we see the delayed response by the World Health Organization and parts of the U.S. government ... The book ends on a hopeful note, citing the research that, at the time, was leading to the development of cures and vaccines. Now those advances are being put to work: More than 100,000 people have been given an experimental vaccine to protect them from the virus in the Congo outbreak.
Richard Preston has a penchant for the cinematic, even when his subject matter could not be more depressing and dire ... His new book...seems written with a singular intent: inspiring the movie version. However one feels generally about the dramatic tone that Preston favors, it feels especially inappropriate in this book ... Much like the clichés that are a regular feature of Hollywood films, the stereotypes that pile up in this book quickly become painful ... But it’s Preston’s portrayal of the nonwhite characters that feels especially egregious ... Preston does try to wrestle with the unequal medical treatment received by Africans who contracted the disease versus treatment received by foreign white aid workers ... But this examination comes too late, during the book’s final quarter, after Preston has spent chapters mired in caricature and overdramatization. What’s more, the book also falters on a deeper, structural level ... Crisis in the Red Zone also recounts an important story about the risks of emerging diseases and a global medical system ill equipped to handle them. But it’s lost between fevered descriptions designed, seemingly, to provoke the kind of hysteria about Ebola that might work well for the film thriller Preston seems to have in mind.