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Download The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story Audiobook, by Richard Preston Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.76 out of 53.76 out of 53.76 out of 53.76 out of 53.76 out of 5 3.76 (38 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Preston Narrator: James Naughton Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2002 ISBN: 9780553756555
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The first major bioterror event in the United States—the anthrax attacks in October 2001—was a clarion call for scientists who work with “hot” agents to find ways of protecting civilian populations against biological weapons. In The Demon in the Freezer, his first nonfiction book since The Hot Zone, a #1 New York Times bestseller, Richard Preston takes us into the heart of Usamriid, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, once the headquarters of the US biological weapons program and now the epicenter of national biodefense.

Peter Jahrling, the top scientist at Usamriid, a wry virologist who cut his teeth on Ebola, one of the world’s most lethal emerging viruses, has ORCON security clearance that gives him access to top secret information on bioweapons. His most urgent priority is to develop a drug that will take on smallpox—and win. Eradicated from the planet in 1979 in one of the great triumphs of modern science, the smallpox virus now resides, officially, in only two high-security freezers—at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and in Siberia at a Russian virology institute called Vector. But the demon in the freezer has been set loose. It is almost certain that illegal stocks are in the possession of hostile states, including Iraq and North Korea. Jahrling is haunted by the thought that biologists in secret labs are using genetic engineering to create a new superpox virus, a smallpox resistant to all vaccines.

Usamriid went into a state of Delta Alert on September 11 and activated its emergency response teams when the first anthrax letters were opened in New York and Washington, DC. Preston reports, in unprecedented detail, on the government’s response to the attacks and takes us into the ongoing FBI investigation. His story is based on interviews with top-level FBI agents and with Dr. Steven Hatfill.

Jahrling is leading a team of scientists doing controversial experiments with live smallpox virus at CDC. Preston takes us into the lab where Jahrling is reawakening smallpox and explains, with cool and devastating precision, what may be at stake if his last bold experiment fails.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[Blends] terror, technology, and trivia…[Preston] has probably done more than any other writer to establish a nationwide imperative to think about infectious agents as global threats and potential weapons.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Preston uses his considerable storytelling skills to show us the heroes who fought smallpox, not for money or glory but simply because they wanted to leave behind a better world than they had found.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “Vivid testimony…The alarms he raises are real ones…With his genius for vivid detail and telling anecdote, Preston adds frissons of his own…His real métier  lies in intimate and exhaustive interviews with experts on the front line.”

    Newsday

  • “Riveting…Better-than-fiction characters…Preston had terrific access to people and the facilities typically off-limits.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • “Preston captivates…A frighteningly real account of the virus and its potential to explode globally.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Compelling…Preston charts the tragic miscalculations and the geopolitical maneuvers that led from the triumph of eradication to the possible threat of a deliberate epidemic…Preston is a master at explaining what’s important…A reminder of the lifesaving promise of global cooperation.”

    San Jose Mercury News

  • “Lyrical as well as explanatory…Preston is a helpful guide, translating complex scientific situations into everyday language.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • “Riveting…Startling new insights into the government’s reaction to the anthrax mailings.”

    Hartford Courant

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2002 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Science and Technology

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 2/19/2014

    " Very interesting and well written book "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Avel | 2/18/2014

    " This books is Richard Preston's second best, the first being The Hot Zone. It describes not only the threat of smallpox and history of smallpox in detail, but also the different types of smallpox that are possible. He obviously did some research over a long period of time in order to come up with the facts that he did. Originally, I think the book was meant to be written to describe smallpox, but during the writing of the book, 9-11 occurred and he goes on to talk about the anthrax threats that occurred after 9-11 as well as other biological threats received after 9-11. I recommend this book to anyone who's ever been interested in learning more about biological warfare. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marilyn Mcentyre | 2/17/2014

    " Preston raises awareness about disease and bioterrorist threats in a way that doesn't simply terrorize, but educates and motivates. He tells a compelling story, does meticulous research, and is doing a great public service by doing homework we all need to know about. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Devin L. | 2/2/2014

    " Holy moley, this book was terrifying. Scary thing is, this book came out in 2002. Much more has happened surrounding this topic since then (as was outlined in my virology class). Even scarier, though, is the fact that it's all true. Studying microbiology as I do, I lose sleep over things like this. Always the 'What If?' that gets to me. Anyway, very good book. Well written, terrifying, and very enlightening. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric Bingham | 1/30/2014

    " This was a very interesting history of smallpox. It also had a very interesting look into issues of biowarfare. I think it was definitely worth the read. My only complaint is that I was a little confused by all the anthrax stuff at the beginning. If I were to read it again, I would start at the chapter that talks about the history of smallpox, rather than starting at the beginning. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff | 1/20/2014

    " Another great biological weapons book. Smallpox virus is the main focus. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenna | 1/10/2014

    " Very interesting book if you like reading about history and microbiology. Preston did a good job researching the topic. I found it cool to learn what our government does/doesn't do in light of bioterrorist attacks. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charley | 1/7/2014

    " Great read about the eradication of smallpox and the resistance to destroy the remaining stocks. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joy | 1/3/2014

    " not as good as the hot zone. covers anthrax and small pox. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kimberly | 1/2/2014

    " I hated it, don't read it, it was sooooo boring.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori | 12/26/2013

    " Not as good as his previous works. It was interesting and informative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carl | 12/7/2013

    " I love virus stuff so this was a slam dunk. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly Straka | 10/5/2013

    " Very informative but not so suspenseful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Camille Stern | 8/4/2013

    " This was an excellent insight into smallpox and anthrax. Forget nuclear weapons - we should be concerned about biological warfare! Excellent read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Beth Laychak | 8/3/2013

    " What Hot Zone does for Ebola, Demon in the Freezer does for smallpox. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alvin | 8/1/2013

    " Amazing! I cannot believe that people were using smallpox in live animal experients at the CDC the same day I was graduating from high school 90 miles away. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marks54 | 5/17/2013

    " This was a short well written and terrifying book about the potential for biological terrorism. I read this in November 2002 at a time when everyone was worried about terrorism, war, anthrax, smallpox, and lots of other nasty things. It was an effective book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Plehigh | 2/28/2013

    " This was a re-read. I liked it the first time, and again this time! I enjoyed Hot Zone and this one is on the same wavelength. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rebecca | 1/25/2013

    " It was pretty good. Really scary though, in the fact that it is real. I did get a bit bored with it after a little while. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Salsadancer | 1/10/2013

    " history and behavior of the smallpox virus and an account of the anthrax attacks of Sep 2001 "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Limopilot | 10/8/2012

    " I knew going in to it that it would be documentary in nature, but it was very slow moving for me. Very eye-opening, but just a bit slower than I would like. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elena | 7/19/2012

    " Lacks good editing, but very informational (in a scientific but creepy kind of way...) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 April Montiel | 5/31/2012

    " his writing suffers the story, but I appreciate a documentary style. ill never wish for a per monkey again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Broc | 12/5/2011

    " Good read for history and intro. to bio-terrorism and virology. very sensational which makes it a page-turner. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Megan | 11/18/2011

    " Wow, got this one from a science teacher friend's recommendation; didn't even realize it was non-fiction. Interesting book. The end slows down a bit but all in all I would highly recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tieya | 10/1/2011

    " WOW... This is a true story and it is crazy. Very easy to read and a fast read. Good book after I get over what I just ready maybe I will read some more of his books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Roberta | 5/18/2011

    " I think I am never going into an African bat cave!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rp | 5/13/2011

    " Quite gory but very interesting none the less. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tammie | 5/12/2011

    " Life is good when you don't have Ebola. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Holly | 5/11/2011

    " terrifying and fascinating. I read this book years ago and suddenly thought of it while on today. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Angela | 5/10/2011

    " Ok book. Not something I would recommend to others. The reading was lower level than I thought. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 5/8/2011

    " One of, if not the scariest book I've read. Because it's true. If you are a germaphobe, don't read this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Neida | 5/8/2011

    " Written with the layperson in mind, this is a terrifying read. How this tiny virus, if allowed to run amok, can decimate the human population, is extremely humbling. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roseanne | 4/28/2011

    " If you're enjoy real-life drama, this has plenty. I finished this in one sitting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 4/27/2011

    " Wow. This book was a lot better than I expected it to be. I hate reading books in school half of the time, but I was really drawn into this. It's definitely a scary thought, to think that something like Ebola exists, but it's a reasonable scary. Definitely recommend it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 4/25/2011

    " I'm so so so glad the ending was boring. Read it for school. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Valerie | 4/20/2011

    " WOW what a book! Read this the first semester of college and was just blown away by the truth of horrific strange viruses! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan | 4/18/2011

    " Read this one 17 years after it was hot - I bet it was amazing as a New Yorker piece - in the long form it fell a bit flat for me. "

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About the Author
Author Richard Preston

Richard Preston is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Cobra Event and The Demon in the Freezer. A writer for the New Yorker since 1985, Preston won the American Institute of Physics Award and is the only nondoctor ever to have received the CDC’s Champion of Prevention Award. Preston attended Pomona College and recievied his PhD from Princeton University. He lives outside New York City.

About the Narrator

James Naughton is an actor and director. He first came to prominence in the television series adaptation of the Planet of the Apes movie series of the same name. Since then, he has starred in dozens television shows and appeared in numerous Broadway plays. He is a two-time Tony Award winner, one for his performance as Sam Spade in City of Angels and the other portraying Billy Flynn in the 1997 revival of Chicago.