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Richard Rhodes: Deadly Feasts


Deadly Feasts

Author: Richard Rhodes

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Having grabbed the headlines in 1996, mad-cow disease has all but disappeared from the news, and while most Americans know that it had an impact on those who ate British beef, few know anything more about it than its catchy name would indicate. Richard Rhodes' medical thriller Deadly Feasts provides more than enough information about the disease to make you swear off beef without looking back; his liberal use of alarmist rhetoric in the introduction doesn't hurt either. Wrought with tales of cannibalism, ambitious scientists, government ineptitude, and even some monkeys, the story of mad-cow disease is inherently interesting. Deadly Feasts' main shortcoming is that Rhodes tries to wring suspense out of every step of the investigation without delving very far into the human element. This detachment of character makes the scores of scientists' names virtually interchangeable, creating some confusing reading. Still, it is interesting to read about the process associated with disease investigation and control, especially one that's been as obscured by glossy journalism as mad-cow disease has.