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Download Scourge: The Once and Future Threat of Smallpox Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Scourge: The Once and Future Threat of Smallpox Audiobook, by Jonathan B. Tucker Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (97 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jonathan B. Tucker Narrator: Patrick Cullen Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2005 ISBN: 9781455179039
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Smallpox, the only infectious disease to have been eradicated, was one of the most terrifying of human scourges. It covered the skin with hideous, painful boils, killed a third of its victims, and left the survivors disfigured for life. In this riveting, often terrifying look at the history of smallpox, Jonathan B. Tucker tells the story of this deadly disease, the heroic efforts to eradicate it worldwide, and the looming dangers it still poses today.

Beginning in the sixteenth century, smallpox afflicted rich and poor alike, repeatedly altering the course of human history. No vaccine existed until 1796, when an English country doctor named Edward Jenner developed one. While this vaccination banished the virus from industrialized countries, smallpox remained a major cause of death in the developing world. Finally, in 1967, the World Health Organization launched an intensified global campaign to eradicate smallpox worldwide. By early 1978, the disease had been eliminated.

During the 1980s, Soviet leaders cynically exploited the world’s new vulnerability to smallpox by mass-producing the virus as a strategic weapon. In recent years, concern over the possible return of smallpox has taken an even greater urgency with the realization that clandestine stocks of the virus may still exist.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The book is difficult to put down.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Tucker provides an engrossing look at the continuing debate over the destruction of smallpox.”

    Library Journal

  • “Tucker describes in detail the long struggle over maintaining research stocks of the virus—an effort that rather leaves smallpox as a terrorist weapon looming threateningly over this well-written, thoroughly documented book.”


  • “A true-life tale of heroes and villains, frighteningly real and marvelously told.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Casey | 3/15/2010

    " I would have finished this one, and may pick it up again in the future. Interesting and well written, just didn't have the time for it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dean | 12/8/2008

    " Great history of the disease, and of the tireless work of the World Health Organization in eradicating it from humanity. Also touches upon the stubbornness of our governments to finally get rid of the remaining samples, and the threats this presents. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Reatha | 6/1/2008

    " This is a great look at the history and continuing research of small pox. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim Painter | 10/22/2007

    " A great book about the small pox virus, the history of the vaccine and a little bit about the Soviet bio weapons development program. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jwjohnsen | 4/1/2006

    " It's scary to think that any day, some terrorist may turn Smallpox into a weapon, and we'd all be vulnerable again. On the other hand, it shows what this world can accomplish if we are willing to cut through the red tape and work together. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alison | 10/6/2005

    " I'd probably pick this up again if I were in between books, but it wasn't engaging enough to try and renew when it came due during our move last fall. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ellee | 9/11/2004

    " So far at about halfway through, this is just all right. I thought it would have more historical information, but most of the book is about the eradication efforts in the mid-20th Century, which I already was fairly familiar with. So far, I'd pick almost any other pestilence book besides this one. "

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About the Author

Jonathan B. Tucker is an expert on biological and chemical weapons in the Washington, DC office of the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He studied biology at Yale University, received his PhD in political science from MIT, and served in the State Department, the congressional Office of Technology Assessment, and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He is the editor of Toxic Terror: Assessing Terrorist Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons.

About the Narrator

Patrick Cullen (a.k.a. John Lescault), a native of Massachusetts, is a graduate of the Catholic University of America. He lives in Washington, DC, where he works in theater.