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Updated December 21, 2022

Non Fiction Novel “The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston Book Review

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Non Fiction Novel “The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston Book Review essay
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The book “The Hot Zone” is a nonfiction novel written by Richard Preston in the mid 1990s. The author of this novel discusses the horrifying process and experience that ebola and marburg victims go through when they acquire these lethal diseases. This book also examines the outbreak that occurred at a monkey facility in Reston, Virginia in the late 80s. To contextualize that event, the author provides us with background information on multiple other outbreaks tracing back to Africa in the 1970s. The Hot Zone can be interpreted differently in various ways, for example if it was interpreted by someone in Africa who might have had a relative who contains the disease would feel a lot more sympathetic compared to an interpretation by someone who doesn’t know anybody with the disease who would just be a lot more cautious and defensive towards the virus.

The age factor in the reader plays a big role and is essential to interpreting the book because young adults may have various different views on this deadly viruses compared to someone who is a lot older. Another factor to consider could be where the reader is from and their knowledge on these viruses, or the interpretation of this book between a reader who is religious and someone who isn’t. The narrator states in the text, “People performed all kinds of small rituals before they walked through that steel door. Some people crossed themselves. Others carried amulets or charms inside their space suits.” (p. 77) this quotation discusses how these well trained and educated scientists, who knew one little mistake or tear in their suits would lead to their horrifying deaths still relied on superstition and good luck charms to make it out successfully. These scientists were using these objects to overcome their fears by using them as an emotional safeguards to feel protected. Someone who is religious might interpret this part of text by saying, having faith is always important, especially when you are in a situation where a small tear could end your life within days.

An individual who lives in South Africa might interpret this text as being frightening or something to make a huge deal about. Considering The Hot Zone contains many disturbing details about the virus throughout the text, that they might find a lot more disturbing. Meanwhile, someone from another country who is not affected by this virus such as the United States, might interpret this scientific thriller as a way of lowering the human population. In the text Karl Johnson said, “A virus can be useful to a species by thinning it out.” (pg 121). This quotation might be interpreted as a way of nature taking its course and doing the human race a favor by decreasing the human population with these lethal viruses. This could be understood as a beneficial thing for the human race, or just a horrible way of thinking.

In order for a reader to interpret this text, they must comprehend the chances of an outbreak occurring in the United States, when reading the second part of the book that examines what happened at the Monkey facility, in Reston, Virginia. Several monkeys shipped from the Philippines died died due to a relative of the Ebola virus spreading in Room F. The narrator says in the text, “Ebola, the great slate wiper, did things to people that you did not want to think about.” (pg 64). This quote could be interpreted by an American reader as way of saying fear was caused by the lack of knowledge on the Ebola virus, simply because you can’t control something that you have limited knowledge on.

In conclusion a reader from the United States might interpret this text as, something to be aware about and a way of gaining new knowledge, rather than having too much fear since they never had to experience it. Meanwhile, a reader who might know someone who contains this deadly virus might have an interpretation of this text as something to be feared, or have religious beliefs on, since almost always people revert to some sort of spiritual belief when they have no other explanation to something. Overall, this scientific thriller could have various different interpretations, but this essay focuses on only two perspectives from two readers who live in different countries.

Non Fiction Novel “The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston Book Review essay

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Non Fiction Novel “The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston Book Review. (2021, Sep 20). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/non-fiction-novel-the-hot-zone-by-richard-preston/

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