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Ebola: A novel of the first outbreak, by a doctor who was there

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Format: Mass Market Paperback

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Book Overview

"Eloquent, gripping, harrowing."--Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone When a mysterious virus first exploded in Zaire in 1976, American physician William T. Close worked desperately to contain the... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Fascinating Perspective

To be truthful, I was a bit disappointed when the author admitted at the beginning of the book that this was a novel. I had expected more technical information. However, the book was a very good read and gave an interesting perspective of the first Ebola outbreak from the view of the people directly involved - the villagers and the Catholic missionaries. Dr. Close bases this book on fact, but for the sake of interest, combined some characters and filled in some holes in the story with what he believes happened. Since he was there, nobody can argue the facts. The book does not give any technical information on Ebola and how it works and how it is stopped. It does however, go into decriptions of how this awful disease is spread and how it affects entire villages. Without the technical details, the book is a quick read and though a subject like this could not be called enjoyable, I found it fascinating to read.

Realistic and frightening

In this book, William Close has worked hard to record the true story about Ebola's first recorded outbreak. The events that unfolded in the Yambuku region of Zaire (now Dem. Rep. of Congo) are particularly frightening because of the unknown nature of the "new" pathogen which was killing people quickly and brutally, while breaking many of the known "rules" of disease prevention. The conversations and characters in the book reflect this atmosphere of fright. They caused me to explore my own character to ponder how I would have responded in the same situation. And, as a result of this book I have gained a more personal look at those who lost their lives to the first outbreak of Ebola. Too often we just hear reports of "300 dead in this region" without realizing that these people were mothers, fathers, and children. In conclusion, this book was not boring at all! Like any good novel, it explores the lives of the characters in-depth; sections without page-turning excitement should be expected. Yet the exciting parts of the books would not be the same without the more descriptive parts.


This book is in a way unique. It is different from medical thrillers as it describes life itself. It creates its suspense and its attraction from the fact that the real world, real events are interwoven with fictional characters who themselves are based on real characters. Everything is authentic in this book. Close consequently does not ask questions about his characters' motivation or their human defects. They are heroes as human as they can be. And all the more admirable. An excellent book!

This book is realistic, the Hot Zone is sensationalistic.

William T. Close's account of the 1976 Ebola outbreak in the Yambuku region of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) provides a startling look at the emotions, fears and struggles of the individuals involved in a virus outbreak. In the case of this outbreak, the etiological agent was not yet known to human-kind, thus enhancing the fear of the disease caused by the virus. It is unfair to compare this book to The Hot Zone since The Hot Zone is written more as a thriller rather than to be informative. It is full of sensationalistic phrases and thoughts and leaves out many important scientists involved in the Reston outbreak. Close's Ebola gives you the knowledge needed to appreciate an outbreak of a deadly disease and I highly recommend it.

you'll never think about the diseases the same way

I enjoyed this book very much;sure it wasn't the rollercoaster ride of "The Hot Zone", but it gives you the back story of the epidemic. You learn in detail about the people who were only briefly mentioned in "The Hot Zone". Those people's courage could inspire us all.
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