Top 10 Science Books, 2004

Top Books, 2004
-Science Friday, NPR

Best Nonfiction Books, 2004
-Atlanta Journal-Constitution

For more than 50 years, the U.S. federal government has quietly operated a rapid-reaction force of disease detectives: the Epidemic Intelligence Service. Several times each week, calls and e-mails come in to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, describing something that those on the other end of the line cannot understand: something unnerving, something that looks like the start of an outbreak. When those calls come in, the EIS pick up their bags and go. Sometimes their destination is a short distance away. Sometimes it is on the other side of the world.

BEATING BACK THE DEVIL is the first book to penetrate the little-known world of the EIS, an elite corps of young doctors, PhDs and health professionals who have been on the scene of every major epidemic in the past half-century. Award-winning science journalist Maryn McKenna shadows the first group to join the EIS after Sept. 11, 2001. She follows them across the United States and to Africa and Asia, revealing their exhaustion, frustration, occasional fear - and exhilaration when they solve a mystery in time to save lives.