D.T. Max - The Family That Couldn't Sleep (2nd Hand Hardback)
Strung out across the plains of northern Adriatic Italy lives one of the unluckiest families in the world. Until its members reach the age of 50 or so, all seems well. Nurses nurse, merchants trade, and playboys continue to worry about the cut of their silk handkerchiefs. But, once past that witching half century, each member of the family knows that there's a good chance that a terrifying malaise will strike.
At least now that nightmare now has a name - fatal familial insomnia (FFI) - and a pedigree. It started as a spontaneous genetic malformation in a mid-18th-century Venetian doctor, and since then has been passed down patchily through his descendants. These days, the first thing someone hears about their deadly inheritance is when a third cousin phones out of the blue and asks oddly urgent questions about their health (if your parent is infected, then there's a one in two chance that you will be too).
So wary is Italian culture about this kind of family "curse" that the victims' identities remain off-limits. However, American journalist DT Max has tracked them down and gained a certain access. Some members of the extended clan consider him a curioso - a gawper. Others, doubtless reassured by his connection with the New Yorker and the fact that he is suffering from a related disease, have decided to let him into their particular nightmare.
Meanwhile in Papua New Guinea, a primitive tribe is nearly obliterated by a sickness whose chief symptom is uncontrollable laughter. Across Europe, millions of sheep rub their fleeces raw before collapsing. In England, cows attack their owners in the milking parlors, while in the American West, thousands of deer starve to death in fields full of grass.
- Format : Standard 2nd Hand Hardback with Dust Jacket
- Condition : Very Good
- Category : Non-Fiction - Health, Medicine, Psychology & Self-Help
- Published : 2006 (This Edition 2007 - Portobello Books - 1st UK Edition, 1st UK Printing)
- ISBN : 9781846270895
- SKU : B002495
- PPC : SP800gm
- RRP : £17.99 (Unclipped)
- Quantity Available : 1 only.
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"This book surprised me. The title is just the tip of the top of Prion Diseases. Fatal Familial Insomnia is just one form. Mad Cow Disease, Scrapie (in sheep), Cruetzfeldt-Jakob, Kuru, Chronic Wasting Disease (in deer) . . . all of these belong to the same family of diseases.
This book takes the reader through all the stages of a new disease, from discovery to the latest research and knowledge. The author writes clearly and the writing is informational." - Amazon Review.
D.T. Max is a journalist and essayist who has written for the New York Times Book Review, and the LA Times. He is currently a Staff Writer with the New Yorker, His books with Portobello include The Family That Couldn't Sleep and Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace (Viking).