The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story Of The Origins Of The Ebola Virus by Richard PrestonThe Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story Of The Origins Of The Ebola Virus by Richard Preston

The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story Of The Origins Of The Ebola Virus

byRichard Preston

Mass Market Paperback | July 20, 1995

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The bestselling landmark account of the first emergence of the Ebola virus. A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic "hot" virus. The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising account of the appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their "crashes" into the human race. Shocking, frightening, and impossible to ignore, The Hot Zone proves that truth really is scarier than fiction.
Richard Preston is the author of several books, most recently The Cobra Event. He is a regular contribuot to The New Yorker. He has also won the AAAS-Westinghouse Award and the McDermott Award in the Arts from MIT.
Title:The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story Of The Origins Of The Ebola VirusFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:448 pages, 6.83 × 4.14 × 0.94 inPublished:July 20, 1995Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385479565

ISBN - 13:9780385479561

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from a reread every time! love this book, i feel like more people should know about this author and his novels. I've read it at least 10 times and the bind is starting to fray :)
Date published: 2018-02-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from terrific book well researched and written novel.
Date published: 2017-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from scary such a terrifying novel but so interesting!
Date published: 2017-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is actually my favorite book Out of all the book's I have read - this one really stuck with me. I absolutely soaked up everything this book had to offer.
Date published: 2017-01-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Terrifyingly relevant book I remember that when this book was first released it was very popular, but now it's even more chilling considering the recent Ebola epidemic. Somewhat sensationalized, but overall a riveting account.
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Hot Zone Terrifying. I had no clue these events events actually happened - mostly this book left me with the overwhelming feeling that, as a planet and society, we are building up to the story of (another) great outbreak of some kind. The book talked briefly about mutations and strains, and that was just about as much as my over-active imagination could take. Despite being a bit graphic and a *tad* dramatic, I actually wished it was quite a bit longer. Maybe a follow-up discussing the West African Ebola outbreak?
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Scarier Today! Even though the book was published 20 years ago, it is even more relevant today given the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa and beyond. Preston's book is based on a true story bounded in an entertaining and educational narrative. I agree with Stephen King when he said that the first chapter of this book was one of the scariest things he has ever read. The Hot Zone should be required reading for all.
Date published: 2014-10-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Hot Zone A back and forth chronology from the 1980s until recently of people Richard Preston interviewed. These people expressed their thoughts while dealing with the Ebola virus. It especially concerns the monkeys at at Reston VA location which were eradicated because of them dying due to contact with one another. The public and the experts did not know what caused the deaths. Some of the book details several people who traced the viruses back to Africa and visited there. This is a true story.
Date published: 2014-09-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from The Hot Zone Highly sensationalist account about Ebola. The author attempts to shock readers with horrifying descriptions of infected people, but it just ends up being repetitive. Tons of useless details about the people involved - their not at all relevant life story, their co-workers who are barely involved in the event, their kids, their worries about their kids, etc...incredibly dull.
Date published: 2014-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read Great book, interesting tale, and an amazing writing style. Much better than a movie!
Date published: 2008-01-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read This book is great. Filled with great action and a lot of scientific information for all you nerds. All in all, I would tell anyone with any interest in epidimiology to read this book!!
Date published: 2004-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hot Zone This book is truely amazing. I read the first 2 chapters in Grade 4 when a friend showed it to me. I just picked it up again, and IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER! It makes you think, about the politics behind logging in the rainforests, one of the possible reasons for the sudden outbreaks. I hope to one day be a virologist and I have this book to thank. Mr. Preston where ever you are, great work and thank you.
Date published: 2003-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Chilling Truth is Closer Than We Think I only read the first few chapters of this book, because I had borrowed it for the day from a friend, and the writing was so good, and extremely graphic, that I had trouble putting it down. I liked the book so much that I went and bought a copy for myself and I would reccomend this book to anyone who has a strong stomach and wants a good, graphic read.
Date published: 2002-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Filoviruses Truth is really scarier than fiction, and more readable in The Hot Zone. This book is what started my obsessive quest for information on the Filovirus family of Marburg and the Ebola sisters. A must read that I still rave about at least once a week, even years after my first reading.
Date published: 2001-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Felt Cold All Over Great! The everyday truth to it made it all the more chilling. Worth every cent. I was in a Chapters store and only bought it because I heard this guy going on and on about it. Now that guy is me...GET THIS BOOK!
Date published: 2000-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nature is slowly fighting back... A wonderfully graphic story about the emergence and spread of filovirii from the eastern to western hemisphere. It's a true to life horror story of Ebola and its awesome destructive power - 25% to 100% human fatalities. Beware, it is not for the faint of heart! If you've ever worked in isolation at a hospital or in the field - you may want to reflect about your choice of career. I did.
Date published: 2000-04-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Hot Zone This book should not be read by anyone suffering from hypochondria. The Hot Zone is a bone-chilling account of the highly infectious and lethal Ebola virus. From the central African rain forest this deadly virus suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington,D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90% of its victims are dead. The people and events are real which make it all the more engrossing. This book is guaranteed to make the world you live in a more frightening place and proves that truth is scarier than fiction.
Date published: 2000-03-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thrilling...Readable This is a gripping story that is educational as well. Leaves you on the edge of your seat. Entirely readable, with no biological jargon. It made me want to know more about other types of viruses too! A great book!
Date published: 2000-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One Of The BEST Books The Hot Zone was one of the best books i've ever read, even thought i'm only 15. It's sort of a scary book in ways, which proves that the truth can be scarier than the truth. I highly recomend this book.
Date published: 2000-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Genetic Material Surrounded By A Protein Coat An incredibly scary book for the layman and biologist alike... and to top it all off, the story is true! It instills the fear of Nature into mankind. Preston writes very well. A definite page turner!
Date published: 1999-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Genetic Material Surrounded By A Protein Coat A very scary book for the layman and biologist alike... and to top it all off, the story is true! It instills the fear of Nature into mankind. Preston writes very well. A definite page turner!
Date published: 1999-06-11

Read from the Book

The headache begins, typically, on the seventh day after exposure to the agent. On the seventh day after his New Year’s visit to Kitum cave-January 8, 1980-Monet felt a throbbing pain behind his eyeballs. He decided to stay home from work and went to bed in his bungalow. The headache grew worse. His eyeballs ached, and then his temples began to ache, the pain seeming to circle around inside his head. It would not go away with aspirin, and then he got a severe backache. His housekeeper, Johnnie, was still on her Christmas vacation, and he had recently hired a temporary housekeeper. She tried to take care of him, but she really didn’t know what to do. Then, on the third day after his headache started, he became nauseated, spiked a fever, and began to vomit. His vomiting grew intense and turned into dry heaves. At the same time, he became strangely passive. His face lost all appearance of life and set itself into an expressionless mask, with the eyeballs fixed, paralytic, and staring. The eyelids were slightly droopy, which gave him a peculiar appearance, as if his eyes were popping out of his head and half closed at the same time. The eyeballs themselves seemed almost frozen in their sockets, and they turned bright red. The skin of his face turned yellowish, with a brilliant starlike red speckles. He began to look like a zombie. His appearance frightened the temporary housekeeper. She didn’t understand the transformation in this man. His personality changed. He became sullen, resentful, angry, and his memory seemed to be blown away. He was not delirious. He could answer questions, although he didn’t seem to know exactly where he was.When Monet failed to show up for work, his colleagues began to wonder about him, and eventually they went to his bungalow to see if he was all right. The black-and-white crow sat on the roof and watched them as they went inside. They looked at Monet and decided that he needed to get to a hospital. Since he was very unwell and no longer able to drive a car, one of his co-workers drove him to a private hospital in the city of Kisumu, on the shore of Lake Victoria. The doctors at the hospital examined Monet, and could not come up with any explanation for what had happened to his eyes or his face or his mind. Thinking that he might have some kind of bacterial infection, they gave him injections of antibiotics, but the antibiotics had no effect on his illness.The doctors thought he should go to Nairobi Hospital, which is the best private hospital in East Africa. The telephone system hardly worked, and it did not seem worth the effort to call any doctors to tell them that he was coming. He could still walk, and he seemed able to travel by himself. He had money; he understood he had to get to Nairobi. They put him in a taxi to the airport, and he boarded a Kenya Airways flight.A hot virus from the rain forest lives within a twenty-four hour plane flight from every city on earth. All of the earth’s cities are connected by a web of airline routes. The web is a network. Once a virus hits the net, it can shoot anywhere in a day æParis, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, wherever planes fly. Charles Monet and the life form inside him had entered the net.The plane was a Fokker Friendship with propellers, a commuter aircraft that seats thirty-five people. It started its engines and took off over Lake Victoria, blue and sparkling, dotted with the dugout canoes of fishermen. The Friendship turned and banked eastward, climbing over green hills quilted with tea plantations and small farms. The commuter flights that drone across Africa are often jammed with people, and this flight was probably full. The plane climbed over belts of forest and clusters of round huts and villages with tin roofs. The land suddenly dropped away, going down in shelves and ravines, and changed in color from green to brown. The plane was crossing the Eastern rift valley. The passengers looked out the windows at the place where the human species was born. They say specks of huts clustered inside circles of thornbush, with cattle trails radiating from the huts. The propellers moaned, and the friendship passed through cloud streets, lines of puffy rift clouds, and began to bounce and sway. Monet became airsick.The seats are narrow and jammed together on these commuter airplanes, and you notice everything that is happening inside the cabin. The cabin is tightly closed, and the air recirculates. If there are any smells in the air, you perceive them. You would not have been able to ignore the man who was getting sick. He hunches over in his seat. There is something wrong with him, but you can’t tell exactly what is happening.He is holding an airsickness bag over his mouth. He coughs a deep cough and regurgitates something into the bag. The bag swells up. Perhaps he glances around, and then you see that his lips are smeared with something slippery and red, mixed with black specks, as if he has been chewing coffee grounds. His eyes are the color of rubies, and his face is an expressionless mass of bruises. The red spots, which a few days before had started out as starlike speckles, have expanded and merged into huge, spontaneous purple shadows: his whole head is turning black-and-blue. The muscles of his face droop. The connective tissue in his face is dissolving, and his face appears to hang from the underlying bone, as if the face is detaching itself from the skull. He opens his mouth and gasps into the bag, and the vomiting goes on endlessly. It will not stop, and he keeps bringing up liquid, long after his stomach should have been empty. The airsickness bag fills up to the brim with a substance know as the vomito negro, or the black vomit. The black vomit is not really black; it is a speckled liquid of two colors, black and red, a stew of tarry granules mixed with fresh red arterial blood. It is hemorrhage, and it smells like a slaughterhouse. The black vomit is loaded with virus. It is highly infective, lethally hot, a liquid that would scare the daylights out of a military biohazard specialist. The smell of the vomito negro fills the passenger cabin. The airsickness bag is brimming with black vomit, so Monet closes the bag and rolls up the top. The bag is bulging and softening threatening to leak, and he hands it to a flight attendant.When a hot virus multiplies in a host, it can saturate the body with virus particles, from the brain to the skin. The military experts then say that the virus has undergone “extreme amplification.” This is not something like the common cold. By the time an extreme amplification peaks out, an eyedropper of the victim’s blood may contain a hundred million particles. In other words, the host is possessed by a life form that is attempting to convert the host into itself. The transformation is not entirely successful, however, and the end result is a great deal of liquefying flesh mixed with virus, a kind of biological accident. Extreme amplification has occurred in Monet, and the sign of it is the black vomit.He appears to be holding himself rigid, as if any movement would rupture something inside him. His blood is clotting upæhis bloodstream is throwing clots, and the clots are lodging everywhere. His liver, kidneys, lungs, hands, feet, and head are becoming jammed with blood clots. In effect, he is having a stroke through the whole body. Clots are accumulating in his intestinal muscles, cutting off the blood supply to his intestines. The intestinal muscles are beginning to die, and the intestines are starting to go slack. He doesn’t seem to be fully aware of pain any longer because the blood clots lodged in his brain are cutting off blood flow. His personality is being wiped away by brain damage. This is called depersonalization, in which the liveliness and details of character seem to vanish. He is becoming an automaton. Tiny spots in his brain are liquefying. The higher functions of consciousness are winking out first, leaving the deeper parts of the brain stem (the primitive rat brain, the lizard brain) still alive and functioning. It could be said that the who of Charles Monet has already died while the what of Charles Monet continues to live.The vomiting attack appears to have broken some blood vessels in his noseæhe gets a nosebleed. The blood comes from both nostrils, a shining, clotless, arterial liquid that drips over his teeth and chin. This blood keeps running, because the clotting factors have been used up. A flight attendant gives him some paper towels, which he uses to stop up his nose, but the blood still won’t coagulate, and the towels soak through.When a man is ill in an airline seat next to you, you may not want to embarrass him by calling attention to the problem. You say to yourself that this man will be all right. Maybe he doesn’t travel well in airplanes. He is airsick, the poor man, and people do get nosebleeds in airplanes, the air is so dry and thin. . . and you ask him, weakly, if there is anything you can do to help. He does not answer, or he mumbles words you can’t understand, so you try to ignore it, but the flight seems to go on forever. Perhaps the flight attendants offer to help him. But victims of this type of hot virus have changes in behavior that can render them incapable of responding to an offer of help. They become hostile, and don’t want to be touched. They don’t want to speak.. They answer questions with grunts or monosyllables. They can’t seem to find words. They can tell you their name, but they can’t tell you the day of the week or explain what has happened to them.

From Our Editors

The true story of how a deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in a Washington, D.C., animal test lab. In a matter of days, 90% of the primates exposed to the virus are dead, and secret government forces are mobilized to stop the spread of this exotic "hot" virus

Editorial Reviews

"One of the most horrifying things I've ever read. What a remarkable piece of work."
--Stephen King

"Popular science writing at its best and the year's most infectious page-turner."

"A top-drawer horror story...the best literary roller coaster of the fall."