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Virus Hunter: Thirty Years of Battling Hot Viruses Around the World [Paperback]

C.J. Peters , Mark Olshaker
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 13 1998
The commander of the Army virology unit that battled Ebola in The Hot Zone--and current director of Special Pathogens at the CDC--teams up with the bestselling co-author of Mind Hunter to chronicle his extraordinary thirty-year career fighting deadly viruses.

Currently the head of Special Pathogens at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, C. J. Peters has been on the front lines of our biological war against hot viruses for three decades in South America, the U.S., and Africa. In Virus Hunter, he recounts his lifelong battle against these deadly and invisible agents--and the all-too-often equally dangerous bureaucratic turf wars that have at times escalated the conflict and exacerbated epidemics. From investigating Venezuelan equine encephalitis and Bolivian hemorrhagic fever to containing Ebola in Reston, Virginia, and the deadly hantavirus in the Southwestern U.S., Peters offers a fascinating array of stories about the clash between biology and bureaucracy--and the threat emerging viruses pose to our species.

Written with bestselling co-author Mark Olshaker (Mind Hunter), Virus Hunter is a first person memoir by one of the leading virologists in the Ebola outbreak and a dramatic complement to the mega-bestseller The Hot Zone.

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From Amazon

Books such as Richard Preston's The Hot Zone thrust the deadly Ebola virus into the spotlight, but they can't match the first-person perspective of Virus Hunter. Author C. J. Peters is an ex-army colonel who has spent his professional life studying deadly pathogens in the lab and in the wild. He spins a drama- and adrenaline-filled true tale of virus hunters, which is gripping despite its occasional tendency to grow verbose and detour into personal history. Peters offers a look at crippling diseases not only through the eyes of a scientist, but also with the perspective of an insider in the defense establishment, painting a chilling picture of the potential of biological terrorism or outright warfare. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Richard Preston's best-selling The Hot Zone (LJ 8/94) dramatized the 1989 Ebola outbreak among monkeys in Reston, Virginia, and described conflicts between the two men most responsible for dealing with the outbreak, Joe McCormick of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and C.J. Peters of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). Eventually, McCormick left the CDC, and Peters assumed his former position there. Now both men have published their sides of the story in their respective memoirs. McCormick's Level 4: Virus Hunters of the CDC (LJ 7/96) is a somewhat disjointed but gripping account of hair-raising adventures investigating such deadly diseases as Ebola and Lassa Fever in Africa and elsewhere. Peters's adventures, while often exciting, can't match McCormick's in number and variety, but his book is more smoothly written and provides an interesting overview of its author's career and education in the workings of medical bureaucracies. He also provides important insights into the mentality at USAMRIID, formerly a biological warfare center. As Peters reminds us, some emerging diseases possess horrifying potential as agents of biological warfare. Recommended for general readers.?Marit MacArthur, Auraria Lib., Denver
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Not What I Was Expecting, But Still Excellent April 27 2003
This book was excellent; however, it was not quite what I had expected. I bought it expecting it to read like ï¿The Hot Zone.ï¿ Instead, it turned out to be the autobiography of C.J. Peters, spanning his personal life and career in battling hot viruses. It is a book of memoirs about his career. It was interesting, but did drag a bit in places. It did NOT read like a thriller, as did ï¿The Hot Zone.ï¿
I am still rating the book five stars, because the last two chapters were the best. They sum up all that he has learned in his career, and make projections into the future. He also discusses extensively throughout his book the political considerations and bureaucracy that all scientists have to deal with. The book was written several years ago, but his imaginary scenario sounds almost exactly like what is currently happening with the SARS virus. He also discusses biological terrorism and chemical and biological warfare, and gives his thoughts about all these things from the perspective of all he has learned in his entire career. These chapters are EXTREMELY pertinent to what is happening today.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good mix of virology, biography and adventure! April 29 2000
This book is an exciting look into the professional and private life of a particular virologist/epidemiologist, C.J. Peters. The action takes place in several locals including MARU, CDC and AMRIID.
Unlike "Hot Zone" (mentioned by previous reviewers) this book is non-fiction and written by an expert.
The story provides any would-be epidemiologist with a realistic view of the problems and challenges that are likely to be encountered. (Though it is unlikely that he, or she, would experience this much adventure in one lifetime - Peters is the James Bond of epidemiologists!) When dealing with communities of people with varying cultural and religious beliefs, not all of the challenges are of a scientific nature.
Reading this book is well worth the time - and particularly recommended to young people thinking of entering the field of medicine. There can be more to life as a doctor than cursing HMOs and tracking a swollen stock portfolio!
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The maps of South America & Africa were confusing - they put a lot of effort into identifying most of the Countries, but many of them didn't feature in the text, so why give the Geography lesson?
The 20 photographs were of some interest, but there was only one photo of a patient with symptoms, and only one of a virus - I wish there'd been more of those and less of head & shoulders like having a meal and daughter's high-school graduation?
Great disappointment - absolutely no Index!
The penultimate Chapter 11 gives a prediction of Avian Flu originating in Thailand - just what we're getting news about this month (Jan 2004) - but this book was published in 1997. Given the age of the book, its probably not surprising that Chapter 12 is very out of date (as in 'wrong') regarding its description of BSE (Mad Cow Disease) & CJD.
Was it necessary that we be told what the wife of the 'ghost writer' does for a living?
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5.0 out of 5 stars The inspiring book March 27 2001
This is an inspiring book definitely. Well written in an easy-to-read way ( and believe me, I know when something is easy-to-read), and captivating from chapter to chapter ( is that kind of books you begin looking at and before you know it you have read it from cover to cover in one day ). It also includes some pictures that help you get deeper into the book's atmosphere. Of course, this is kind of a self biography, centered more on the proffessional life of Dr. Peters than on the viruses themselves ( in that case you are advised to get another book containing specific information on this matter ).
Finally, I say it's inspiring because I'm a med student that hadn't decided for a particular specialty until I read that book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Only one mistake. Aug. 27 2003
By Reader.
I extremely enjoyed Dr. Peters's book. The only thing that I can argue with him about is in the chapter titled Cochabamba, when he describes Bolivia's geography he makes a mistake. I expect that he got confused, but he said the that the Kollas live in the lowlands of Beni and Santa Cruz and the Cambas in La Paz and the high altitude Altiplano. Well, the truth is that Cambas live in the lowlands of Bolivia and Kollas in the highlands. Otherwise I found the book very good and entertaining. I recommend everybody to read it, but to remember the Camba-Kolla explanation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely spellbinding Sept. 15 1998
By A Customer
C.J. Peter's remarkable ability to combine a fantastic story with easy-to-understand factoids about virology in general make this an incredibly entertaining book. Not only is it easy to understand for the lay person, it was entirely enjoyable for me as a biology major. His recollections of the many near-misses the world has experienced from various deadly viruses and the not-so-near misses regarding AIDS also makes this a book you aren't likely to forget anytime soon. It is fantastic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book Jan. 5 1999
By A Customer
An Exceptionally written book. It is not just another autobiography. He includes a sense of mortality in his writing that is not seen that much. It brought to light that something one billionth of our size can maybe wipe the human race clean off the planet. C.J. Peters included in this great book a sense of adventure and knowledge with a dash of fear of God. I really recomend this book for anyone it is not filled cover to cover with medical jargon...but it does help to know some.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational Triller!! (If thats possible)
An excellent book!
This books reads like a thriller as the authors take the reader from one hot zone to another. Read more
Published on Dec 10 2003 by Avaksi
5.0 out of 5 stars Give this guy a break!
Peters has been around the world battling Ebola, Marburg ,Lassa, BHF, and alot more! This book contains his entire life, feelings, and emotions. Read more
Published on May 9 2003 by Scott Holets
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice Companion to "The Hot Zone"
What an interesting read!
The author is a great storyteller, who brings a human (and humorous) voice to some of the world's deadliest virial outbreaks. Read more
Published on March 12 2002 by Molly M. Wolf
4.0 out of 5 stars A Correction
After reading Joe Barcelo's review I felt compelled to note that "Hot Zone" is also non-fiction (and very well written).
Published on Aug. 8 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars A Correction
After reading Joe Barcelo's review I felt compelled to note that "Hot Zone" is also non-fiction and very well written.
Published on Aug. 8 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars Hear it from the people who have been there!
If you want to learn more about exotic viruses, how they work, where you'll find them, then give this book a read. Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2001 by The Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Virus Hunter - an outstanding read.
C.J. Peters has had an extraordinary career, which he generously shares with us. This is an outstanding read with rare insight into the world of emerging viruses. Phenomenal.
Published on June 19 2000 by Vickie Hooper
4.0 out of 5 stars Virus Hunter
This books presents varied information on different subjects including viruses, bacteria, biological warfare etc. It was entertaining and informative at the same time. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2000 by Gino and Marsha Salerno
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