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The Demon Under the Microscope

From Battlefield Hospitals to Nazi Labs, One Doctor's Heroic Search for the World's First Miracle Drug

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Description

In The Demon Under the Microscope, Thomas Hager chronicles the dramatic history of sulfa, the first antibiotic and the drug that shaped modern medicine.

The Nazis discovered it. The Allies won the war with it. It conquered diseases, changed laws, and single-handedly launched the era of antibiotics. Sulfa saved millions of lives—among them those of Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr.—but its real effects are even more far reaching. Sulfa changed the way new drugs were developed, approved, and sold; transformed the way doctors treated patients; and ushered in the era of modern medicine. The very concept that chemicals created in a lab could cure disease revolutionized medicine, taking it from the treatment of symptoms and discomfort to the eradication of the root cause of illness.

A strange and colorful story, The Demon Under the Microscope illuminates the vivid characters, corporate strategy, individual idealism, careful planning, lucky breaks, cynicism, heroism, greed, hard work, and the central (though mistaken) idea that brought sulfa to the world. This is a fascinating scientific tale with all the excitement and intrigue of a great suspense novel.

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 17, 2006 – Modern bacteriology was born on the battlefields of WWI, where bacteria-rich trenches added to the toll of millions of soldiers killed. Not coincidentally, the search for anything that would significantly diminish the deadly power of disease largely occurred between the world wars, mostly in Germany. Gerhard Domagk and his colleagues at Bayer (a subsidiary of I.G. Farben) worked feverishly to identify which microscopic squiggles might render humankind forever safe from malaria and tuberculosis. The answer, discovered in 1932, turned out to be sulfa drugs, the precursors to modern antibiotics. Hager, a biographer of Linus Pauling, does a remarkable job of transforming material fit for a biology graduate seminar into highly entertaining reading. He knows that lay readers need plenty of personality and local color, and his story is rich with both. This yarn prefigures the modern rush for corporate pharma patents; it is testament to Hager's skill that the inherently unsexy process of finding the chemicals that might help conquer strep is as exciting as an account of the hunt for a Russian submarine.

Customer Reviews

Excellent

This book is excellent and is packed with history that immensely shaped our world. It's a fascinating read that anyone who is interested in science or history will thoroughly enjoy.

The Demon Under the Microscope
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  • $1.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Life Sciences
  • Published: Sep 19, 2006
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings