The Hot Zone - Richard Preston

„The Hot Zone“ has to be the most terrifying book I have ever read in my entire life. Forget all the horror novels out there and just read the first few chapters of this book about the origins of Ebola and what this virus does to the human body. It scared the bejesus out of me and I simply have the desire to never, ever get infected with Ebola. And by the way: I will never travel to Africa. Just as a precaution.


I have to admit, I really liked the first few chapters. They were fast-paced, full of action and suspense and, as mentioned before, horrifying. But as soon as the story takes place in Reston, Virginia, this book couldn´t hold my interest. And I had quite some issues with this book:


  1. The scientific content of the story is pretty outdated. Numerous times the author makes references to the HIV-virus and that this virus will be the fate of human existence and the human population will be diminished by it. This book just doesn´t age very well.
  2. To read this book is like reading a tabloid newspaper with a lot of lurid headlines. A lot of bad things are happening and even though they might have happened that way, I didn´t enjoy the way Richard Preston is describing it. 
  3. Apparently the US Army has some pretty stupid scientist on their payroll. I´m not a specialist on viruses and bacteria, but I definitely wouldn´t smell at a flask, which contains highly contagious material that could be lethal


This book is an ok read and the sense of horror, that this book gives you, is quite exceptional. But you will not miss out on anything, if you are not reading “The Hot Zone”.