Synopses & Reviews
The Panic Virus
is a gripping scientific detective story about how grassroots radicals, snake-oil salesmen, and cynical journalists have perpetrated the biggest health-scare hoax of all time. It explores what happens when the media treats all viewpoints as equally valid, regardless of facts, from parents who are convinced that vaccines caused their children's autism to right-wing radicals who believe that climate change is a myth. It also explains how the endless quantity of information available online has radicalized partisans by fueling their tendency to filter out anything that doesn't reinforce their way of thinking.
Tens of millions of dollars have been wasted appeasing denialists who think the government is perpetrating a health "holocaust" on children. Declining vaccination rates have caused recent outbreaks of measles, whooping cough, and Hib—and children around the country are dying as a result.
Like works by Oliver Sacks and Richard Dawkins, The Panic Virus uses everyday experiences to show how science affects our lives. Listeners will learn why definitive proof in science is virtually impossible, how rational decision making is ruled by emotion, and why paupers' graves in the 1880s led to an outbreak of throat cancer in the 1950s.
"A riveting and important chronicle of one life-and-death realm in which passionate, panicky belief has dangerously trumped reason---and put millions of children at risk." ---Kurt Andersen, author of Heyday
"Dan John Miller has hints of anger and indignation in his voice as he delivers the author's criticism.… Miller can also be somber as he tells of a child's death, which Mnookin blames on the fear-mongering." ---AudioFile
Journalist Seth Mnookin presents a searing account of how vaccine opponents have used the media to spread their message of panic, despite no scientific evidence to support their claims.
About the Author
Seth Mnookin is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a former senior writer for Newsweek, where he covered media, politics, and popular culture. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, New York magazine, and many other publications. He is the author of Feeding the Monster: How Money, Smarts, and Nerve Took a Team to the Top and Hard News: The Scandals at The New York Times and Their Meaning for American Media. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Dan John Miller is an American actor and musician. In the Oscar-winning Walk the Line, he starred as Johnny Cash's guitarist and best friend, Luther Perkins, and has also appeared in George Clooney's Leatherheads and My One and Only, with Renee Zellweger. An award-winning audiobook narrator, Dan has garnered multiple Audie Award nominations, winning for The Wrecking Crew by Kent Hartman; has twice been named a Best Voice by AudioFile magazine; and has received several AudioFile Golden Earphones Awards and a Listen-Up Award from Publishers Weekly. He has narrated books by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Philip Roth as well as by Pat Conroy, Andre Dubus III, John Green, Nora Roberts, and Dean Koontz. Dan lives in the Detroit, Michigan, area with his wife, Tracee Mae, and their daughter, Frances Rose.