The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story


Updated at 1/27/2016 22:21:12 - Details
Comments(10)

Anonymous the first chapter was frightening! Was very interesting reading how the military and cdc deal with virus outbreaks. Very informative and very scary. Definitely recommend.

Anonymous This is a story I have been waiting to read but didn't know about it until last week of October 8 '03 when I found it in a supermarket. My daughter had to pull me away, grabbed the book and tossed it into our cart. 'Just buy the book, Mom.' I don't purchase paperbacks because novels do not interest me. The last Stephen King novel I started was 'The Stand' and it scared me so much I couldn't get to sleep. I admire Perry's story telling, made all the more fascinating because his story is fact. I also appreciate the shortness of it - I cringe at books much over 350 pages. Wavy Gravy, Baba Ram Dass, long-haired physician, a VW bus touring India, Pakistan, Bagladesh -- I'm thankful these details were left off the paperback jacket. I became familiar with the fact of the last smallpox kept in a freezer at the CDC back in maybe the last ten years or so -- the story was featured on National Public Radio, I believe. I had just finished a tough microbiology college course and was kind of scared and enchanted at the same time. The guest scientist from the CDC said on the radio that it was difficult to kill the last smallpox life-form because afterall it is a living species. Don't know if I remember the words he spoke precisely, but I wanted to know more. Well, I never heard a word anywhere about this story until last week when I found this book. I guess when I'm ready to see photos of smallpox I'll log onto the dermatology dept. on Medline.com. On the other hand, Mr. Preston's detailed descriptions are sufficient. I pray we never have a smallpox outbreak but I'm serious about getting myself and my family vaccinated after reading this book. Thanks for a fast-paced story.

Anonymous The Demon in the Freezer is the informative and interesting tale of the eradication of smallpox. The book describes the techniques used to rid the world of this horrible disease and its eventual location in just two high security freezers worldwide. The reader is introduced to some of the most brilliant minds in science and reads about their reactions as their worst fears come true. It is revealed that smallpox, the demon, may be present in more than two locations and if it were to be set loose, its consequences would be devastating. While The Demon is an informative book full of science and medical discovery, it includes too much unneeded description to be extraordinarily thrilling. Do we really need to know what color sweater Karl Heinz Richter was wearing on the 16th of January, 1970? Will that really add to our knowledge of bioweapons and scientific triumphs? No. This book was meant to be a doomsday type of thriller. It was meant to make the reader think more about what is really going on around them. In reading this book, I did gain a great deal of knowledge about smallpox and other occurances in that area of science. However, Im not necessarily more concerned with the prospects of it getting loose and killing everyone any more than I was before. I would suggest this book for anyone interested in the topics of medical science and biological weapons, however, this book is not necessarily for everyone.

Anonymous The Demon in the Freezer is the informative and interesting tale of the eradication of smallpox. The book describes the techniques used to rid the world of this horrible disease and its eventual location in just two high security freezers worldwide. The reader is introduced to some of the most brilliant minds in science and reads about their reactions as their worst fears come true. It is revealed that smallpox, the demon, may be present in more than two locations and if it were to be set loose, its consequences would be devastating. While The Demon is an informative book full of science and medical discovery, it includes too much unneeded description to be extraordinarily thrilling. Do we really need to know what color sweater Karl Heinz Richter was wearing on the 16th of January, 1970? Will that really add to our knowledge of bioweapons and scientific triumphs? No. This book was meant to be a doomsday type of thriller. It was meant to make the reader think more about what is really going on around them. In reading this book, I did gain a great deal of knowledge about smallpox and other occurances in that area of science. However, Im not necessarily more concerned with the prospects of it getting loose and killing everyone any more than I was before. I would suggest this book for anyone interested in the topics of medical science and biological weapons, however, this book is not necessarily for everyone.

Anonymous Richard Preston has a knack for writing true-life thrillers, which makes them scarier than their fictionalized counterparts. Hot Zone was the most terrifying book I read, about the ebola virus, until I picked up The Demon in the Freezer. Fast-paced, this book about the eradication of small pox, and its reincarnation is so well-researched and disturbing that it's a must-read for anyone who wants to be educated about the horrors of small pox, the danger it presents if unleashed, and the very real possibilities that bio-terrorists are already developing even deadlier strains that are resistant to vaccines. After reading The Demon in the Freezer, the dangers of small pox are all too real. The irony here is that it took heroes who risked their lives to eradicate the world's deadliest disease, and now terrorists are risking their lives to ensure its comeback. A powerful page-turner, and writing at its finest, Richard Preston has done it again: he has written a bio-thriller that reads like fiction, educates and enlightes, while it entertains and frightens.

Anonymous In 1980 the World Health Organization announced with much fanfare that the disease variola, or smallpox, perhaps the most important disease in terms of historcal events, had been purposefully purged from the face of the earth never to kill or disfigure another human being. They were right and they were so very wrong...



Richard Preston tells the story of a disease which has been the bane of mankind for thousands of years. A disease so devastating to humanity that it has the distinction of being the only disease eliminated from the human population. Unfortunately, as Preston points, out there are stores of variola left in the world, some of them in controlled labatories for legitimate study but undoubtedly other stores exist for nefarious--read terroistic- purposes.



Amazingly profound and thought provoking especially in our post 9-11, post smallpox immuninization world.



A bit on the techincal side and at times repetative but certainly a book that should cause everyone to think about the ramifications should the demon be allowed to thaw.

Anonymous Richard Preston, author of the acclaimed book: 'The Hot Zone', once again delivers an easy-to-read, page-turner on our unseen enemies: viruses. Medical jargon aside or merely minimised for the lay-person, Preston writes with a conviction and is convincing in his prose on the inevitable. One day, we will encounter another threat. It may not be World War III, but rather the threat may come from nature and Darwin's idea of 'survival of the fittest'. The fittest that survive may be the virus. It may be enhanced by a nation's enemy playing 'Frankenstein' with microbial fire in their labs. The potential for another virus 'like the flu or the plague' to unleash a judgement on us is not one of fairytales or science fiction. An outbreak of pandemic proportions is not unrealistic given our easy access to other countries and Richard Preston offers an educational look at what some of these viruses may be, while also making us aware that we are not the strongest of the species, but our existence may very well be temporary.

Anonymous Better than any fiction thriller! Richard Preston's latest book is written to keep you turning the pages. With his chapters being rather brief in length, you'll have the opportunity to take a deep breath ocasionally. Small pox, killing over one billion people in the last one hundred years is the disease doctors call the most horrific and now I can see why. Richard Preston fleshs out the real people, that are working in hopes of protecting us all, at the CDC & USAMRID facilities. Unfortunately, there is only so much they can do. My family and I will be first in line should the day come when the small pox vacination becomes available again. Get a good nights sleep before you read this book; it'll be a while before you do after you read it.

Anonymous The Demon in the Freezer is a wonderful book. It is so interesting because it is a true story, and smallpox and anthrax are real demons. The way Richard Preston set up the story was easy to follow, but kept it interesting. I enjoyed this novel considerably. It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. For anyone who is interested in smallpox, anthrax, or diseases in general, this is a must-read book. If you arent interested in diseases or biological weapons at all, this may not be the best book for you, but Id advise you to give it a chance. I think that almost anyone could enjoy this story because smallpox and anthrax are real demons that can affect us in real life.

Anonymous Richard Preston does an excellent job of tracing the demise of smallpox through the dedicated world-wide efforts of many. He then shows how some decisions were made that we might wish could be rethought, given the subsequent events. He also does a good job of putting together the story of the post 9/11 anthrax events in this country. Having read Preston's other biological books, I found this one to be a little bit disjointed, as though it needed one more editing process to knit it all together a bit more cleanly. But I still recommend it hightly for the content.



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The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story

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