Friday, November 23, 2012

Sci Friday - reviewing Invincible Microbe

Welcome back to Sci Friday! Today I'm featuring an excellent nonfiction book about a truly terrifying topic - Tuberculosis. 

Some stories suggest the apocalypse will descend with artificial intelligence taking over humanity. Some blame climate change, or governmental collapse, or a freak incident that knocks out all man made power sources. I’m pretty sure the end will come with an incessant cough that slowly sucks the life out of each human being. 

At least, that’s what I think after reading Invincible Microbe!



Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the never-ending search for a cure
by 

Hardcover160 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Clarion Books


Goodreads Summary: This is the story of a killer that has been striking people down for thousands of years:tuberculosis. After centuries of ineffective treatments, the microorganism that causesTB was identified, and the cure was thought to be within reach—but drug-resistantvarieties continue to plague and panic the human race. The “biography” of this deadlygerm, an account of the diagnosis, treatment, and “cure” of the disease over time,and the social history of an illness that could strike anywhere but was most prevalentamong the poor are woven together in an engrossing, carefully researched narrative.Bibliography, source notes, index.

I’ve never been much of a germaphobe. Yes, I wash my hands. Yes, I cough into my elbow. We call that the “Batman cough” here at work. Yet I never really worried about the germs and bacteria that float around me on a daily basis. I am a little more worried about it now, though. 

In all seriousness, this was a wonderful work of nonfiction. Murphy and Blank created a perfect intersection of history and science, with engaging images and understandable explanations. Tuberculosis is one of those diseases from the past that I’ve heard about, but didn’t really know much of the history. Honestly, I think I knew more about the bubonic plague than about tuberculosis before I read Invincible Microbe.
The science in this nonfiction text could inspire students in many ways. It could be a wonderful springboard for creating post-apocalyptic stories in which the mutated disease runs rampant through humanity again. It could inspire students to pursue the study of epidemiology or microbiology. I know I tend to focus on science here on the blog, but Invincible Microbe would also be a wonderful book to tie into any study of changes through history, as the authors explain how our understanding and treatment of tuberculosis has developed over the years. It would also pair well with any science fiction story that includes the spread of disease.





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