Review of the Week

invisible microbeMurphy, Jim and Alison Blank. Invincible Microbe Tuberculosis: And the Never Ending Search for a Cure.  Photos.  Non-fic.  Clarion, 2012. 149p. $18.99. 978-0-06-1853574-3.  OUTSTANDING.   GRADES 4-6.
This impeccably researched, highly fascinating, and definitive biography of the “greatest killer of humans in the history of the world,” the mycobacterium tuberculosis germ, is both a page-turner and a conversation starter. Beginning with its evidence in the fossil remains of our ancient human ancestors and ending with the frightening reality of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis hotspots around the world, this book takes us through the history
of the disease and its treatments. In a race to find a cure for a devastating disease that killed millions around the world, no method was considered too far-fetched—from the healing touch of a king in the 1600s to the deflating of a lung with a needle in an effort to suffocate the microbe in the 1940s. The authors do not shy away from the social ramifications of the disease, including the racial prejudice and medical injustice that barred many poor and people of color from obtaining access to care. Rich back matter, extensive source notes, web resources, and archival photos on almost every page make this a must-have volume devoted to the medical and social history of a dread disease still among us.
Celia Jackson, Oakland PL

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