I have always enjoyed the "Very Short Introduction" series of books. They are compact, short and provide a thorough understanding of the topic at hand.
The book begins with a brief introduction to bacteria, explaining what they are, their evolution, basic biology and reproduction. These are all vastly important topics the lay-reader must understand before exploring more complex issues. Now these basics can be a little dry (depending on your learning taste), but fortunately, the author explains the basics in a precise and to the point style which is not at all boring or mundane.
The book then moves onto the symbiotic relationship of bacteria with man. It may not be fully appreciated, but bacteria play a very important role with humans (and other complex organisms), without which our very existence would not have been possible! They are required in order to maintain health, prevent infection from other harmful microbes and involved in the production of key medicines (i.e. antibiotics). An appreciation of this really dawns upon the reader, and this epiphany is arguably one of the most fascinating aspects of biology! The book also covers the harmful effects of bacteria on our existence, including the pathogenesis of disease, as well as dilemmas we face such as antibiotic resistance.
In conclusion, this book provides a solid background to bacteria, and should literally be taken as "A Very Short Introduction". Biologists may not find anything in here they didn't already knew before (but is an excellent refresher), but those without any knowledge of this subject will fins this to be an interesting and stimulating read. 5/5