A fascinating look at a bizarre, forgotten epidemic from the national best-selling author of The American Plague. In 1918, a world war raged, and a lethal strain of influenza circled the globe. In the midst of all this death, a bizarre disease appeared in Europe. Eventually known as encephalitis lethargica, or sleeping sickness, it spread worldwide, leaving millions dead or locked in institutions. Then, in 1927, it disappeared as suddenly as it arrived. Asleep, set in 1920s and '30s New York, follows a group of neurologists through hospitals and asylums as they try to solve this epidemic and treat its victims - who learned the worst fate was not dying of it, but surviving it.
©2011 Molly Caldwell Crosby (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Show More Show Less

Regular price: £17.39

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Privacy Notice.

Buy Now for £17.39

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Privacy Notice.

By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Privacy Notice.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By S Het on 14-08-17


I expected a case history of a patient but this was more a belated history lesson

Read more Hide me
See all reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By joyce on 14-12-14

Scary, and still unsolved, medical mystery

This book about encephalitis lethargica is well researched and well written by a woman whose grandmother survived this disease, but mentally damaged. The book examines several case histories, including hers, in detail, to show the wide range of physical and behavioral symptoms that made this disease so baffling for doctors and difficult for families. Its victims, mostly young people, sickened suddenly and fell asleep, for weeks for months. Some woke eventually, some died. Some could function normally again; many suffered degrees of mental/emotional impairment; some displayed uncontrollable anger or became psychotic, suicidal, homicidal (this included small children), others remained 'frozen' like the ones Dr. Oliver Sacks found in a hospital decades after the last outbreak and wrote about in "Awakenings". During two early 20th century pandemic waves of this disease, medical researchers tried to figure out agent was causing it, how it was transmitted, how it might be cured. No luck. Was it linked to pandemic flu?
Rare, sporadic cases still occur. The author makes the point that we may be in terrible trouble if there is another pandemic flu, and another pandemic of encephalitis lethargica.

Read more Hide me

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Lori from Utah on 30-04-15

Loved it

I like how the author not only discusses the cases of encephalopathy lethargica but she discusses what is happening in history and the environment at the same time. The environment impacts us in so many ways. This is a great nonfiction book. Who knew JP Morgan's wife had this? Loved the descriptions of late 19th century early 20th century New York.

Read more Hide me

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

See all reviews