Panic in Level 4: Cannibals, Killer Viruses, and Other Journeys to the Edge of Science

Panic in Level 4: Cannibals, Killer Viruses, and Other Journeys to the Edge of Science

by Richard Preston
3.6 40

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Overview

Panic in Level 4: Cannibals, Killer Viruses, and Other Journeys to the Edge of Science by Richard Preston

Panic in Level 4 is a grand tour through the eerie and unforgettable universe of Richard Preston, filled with incredible characters and mysteries that refuse to leave one’s mind. Here are dramatic true stories from this acclaimed and award-winning author, including

• the phenomenon of “self-cannibals,” who suffer from a rare genetic condition caused by one wrong letter in their DNA that forces them to compulsively chew their own flesh–and why everyone may have a touch of this disease
• the search for the unknown host of Ebola virus, an organism hidden somewhere in African rain forests, where the disease finds its way into the human species, causing outbreaks of unparalleled horror
• the brilliant Russian brothers–“one mathematician divided between two bodies”–who built a supercomputer in their apartment from mail-order parts in an attempt to find hidden order in the number pi (π)

In exhilarating detail, Preston portrays the frightening forces and constructive discoveries that are currently roiling and reordering our world, once again proving himself a master of the nonfiction narrative.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400064908
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/27/2008
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Richard Preston is the bestselling author of The Hot Zone, The Demon in the Freezer, The Wild Trees, and the novel The Cobra Event. A writer for The New Yorker since 1985, Preston is the only nondoctor to have received the Centers for Disease Control’s Champion of Prevention Award. He also holds an award from the American Institute of Physics. Preston lives outside of New York City.

Hometown:

Hopewell, New Jersey

Date of Birth:

August 5, 1954

Place of Birth:

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Education:

B.A., Pomona College, 1976; Ph.D. in English, Princeton University, 1983

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Panic in Level 4: Cannibals, Killer Viruses, and Other Journeys to the Edge of Science 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
MissNewsFinder More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book very much. I have never heard of Richard Preston before this. When I went to the store I was looking for something new to read and this caught my eye. The title and cover were enough for me to pick it up and read the summary. It sounded like an ok read, so I went for it, and I didn't put the book down! This is a good quick read, you can skip chapters and all the chapters are not very long....so this book is perfect for people who commute on a bus,subway,or train. But I would only recommend this to people who like science. All in all I really enjoyed this book, that's why I bought more books by him. The ebola virus chapter really caught my interest, so now I'm reading his 1994 best seller book "The Hot Zone", and I'll let you know how that is when I'm done.
MitchellSundstrom More than 1 year ago
.This sounded like a great idea when I found it on the shelf at the library... Panic in Level 4: Cannibals, Killer Viruses, and Other Journeys to the Edge of Science by Richard Preston. I opened the book, expecting to have around 200 pages of talk about killer viruses and the war against them. Instead, I got a seemly random assortment of stories that mostly bore little resemblance to the "Panic in Level 4" title. The Title “Panic in Level 4” is mentioned in the introduction of the book and is never brought up again, it is a very misleading title. There are stories of Pi and the Unicorn Tapestries, which are interesting but not what you picked the book for. They stray away from the theme of the book, killer viruses and disease. The last chapter is entitled "The Self-Cannibals" which is about Lesch-Nyhan syndrome. It will be hard for any human being with even the smallest amount of empathy to not be distressed reading this. One of the easier passages to read is: "Over time, his fingers had gotten into his mouth and nose, and had broken out and removed the bones of his upper palate and parts of his sinuses, leaving a cavern in his face. He had also bitten off several fingers. J.J. seemed happy most of the time, except when he was injuring himself." This chapter is the type of subject that drew me to this book not two men trying to solve Pi. This book has its good and bad stories, I enjoyed “The Self-Cannibals” and “The Search for Ebola”, while I disliked “The Lost Unicorn” and “The Mountains of Pi.” They simply did not fit with the novel; they were out of place. The title was misleading because the only time Level 4 was talked about was in the introduction.  You have the ability to pick up the book and start where you want, so you could read each story individually in any order you want. I would recommend it because a few of the stories make your jaw drop, and the fact that they are true stories makes them much better.
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Iluvwords More than 1 year ago
For much of the book Mr. Preston discusses subjects, such as Pi, instead of diseases. He does describe in detail the experience of being in a biohazard suit (but he's done that before), diseases of trees, Ebola and genetic diseases. Over all I was disappointed in this book.
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