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Killer Germs: Microbes and Diseases That Threaten Humanity [Paperback]

Barry E Zimmerman , David J. Zimmerman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Oct 2002
Discover the unseen assassins that plague humanity. Until recently, most of us went about our daily lives with a false sense of public health security. Epidemics were a thing of the past, the AIDS crisis had diminished, and an annual vaccination kept the flu at bay. Then, in late 2001, all of those illusions of public health safety were suddenly shattered. A litany of terrifying images and events became all to familiar, from federal agents surreally swathed in biohazard suits to the daily evacuation of major government buildings for anthrax decontamination. The lethal power of microscopic organisms - no longer confined to the lab - permeated our collective psyches, forcing us to confront the serious threat posed by killer germs.This updated edition of Barry and David Zimmerman's classic on the subject offers a riveting retrospective of the havoc-wreaking microbes of the past as well as an engrossing exploration of emerging threats, including a new chapter on bioterrorism. In these pages, you'll discover: what makes smallpox the most potentially devastating of all bioweapons, and how prepared we are to fight it; why tuberculosis - already responsible for 2 billion deaths - is on the rise in the United States, Canada, and Europe; how antibiotic overload might one day turn a simple paper cut or skinned knee into a source of fatal infection; and why virologists fear that an easily transmissible, highly virulent superflu - strong enough to rival the strain that killed millions in 1918 - is imminent. From the bygone bubonic plague to the modern nightmare of Ebola, "Killer Germs" offers a fascinating examination of the horrors humanity has faced and the actions required to provide hope for the future.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Contemporary; 2nd Revised edition edition (1 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071409262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071409261
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 609,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Discover the unseen assassins that plague humanity

Until recently, most of us went about our daily lives with a false sense of public health security. Epidemics were a thing of the past, the AIDS crisis had diminished, and an annual vaccination kept the flu at bay.

Then, in late 2001, all of those illusions of public health safety were suddenly shattered. A litany of terrifying images and events became all to familiar, from federal agents surreally swathed in biohazard suits to the daily evacuation of major government buildings for anthrax decontamination. The lethal power of microscopic organisms--no longer confined to the lab---permeated our collective psyches, forcing us to confront the serious threat posed by killer germs.

This updated edition of Barry and David Zimmerman's classic on the subject offers a riveting retrospective of the havoc-wreaking microbes of the past as well as an engrossing exploration of emerging threats, including a new chapter on bioterrorism. In these pages, you'll discover:

  • What makes smallpox the most potentially devastating of all bioweapons, and how prepared we are to fight it
  • Why tuberculosis--already responsible for 2 billion deaths--is on the rise in the United States, Canada, and Europe
  • How antibiotic overload might one day turn a simple paper cut or skinned knee into a source of fatal infection
  • Why virologists fear that an easily transmissible, highly virulent superflu--strong enough to rival the strain that killed millions in 1918--is imminent

From the bygone bubonic plague to the modern nightmare of Ebola, Killer Germs offers a fascinating examination of the horrors humanity has faced and the actions required to provide hope for the future.

About the Author

Barry Zimmerman and David Zimmerman are both science teachers and authors of Why Nothing Can Travel Faster Than Light . . . and Other Explorations in Nature's Curiosity Shop.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
DISEASE DATES BACK nearly as far as life itself. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is excellent reading. 11 Dec 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Killer Germs is an excellent book for any and everybody who has an interest in diseases and how they effect mankind. Topics covered include the antibacterial resistance that many microbes have acquired, ebola, AIDS, dengue, hantavirus and many other emerging viruses. The book has an excellent conversational tone and is written simply enough for non-science undergrad major such as myself to understand. Recommended for anyone wanting to learn more about today's emerging viruses.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! 21 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback
If your like me and have a keen interest in anything to do with death or disease....this is the book for you! My first popular science book based around Microbiology...and i've been hooked ever since! This book helped me confirm my future career....A Microbiologist! Haha, Brilliant authors! :D
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow 6 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very very interesting. For those fascinated by this kinda stuff u should 100% give this book a read. Brilliant book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pestilential Education 4 Mar 2001
By "brujo_negro" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Personally I'm no microbiologist, however after reading this book I have thought of changing majors. Simply because the world of Germs is so fascinating, more so than I ever imagined. Prior to having read this book I only started to study about viruses & bacterias from online sites on the subject. What I really enjoyed were the first three Chapters: Origins of Disease, Germs & Disease: A brief History, Magic Bullets, these chapters are highly educational on the history of Microbes & Man's interaction with these hidden beings.
I enjoyed the chapter New Kids on the Block, Flesh Eating Bacteria, & other stealth Killers. This book makes you question which creatures are really at the top of the Food Chain. I'd place my bet on the Microbial world This book is as fascinating as the Hot Zone if not more so because of it's educational value, a book that belongs in every one's bookshelf. Buy it! You will be pleased with it! -Nick-
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, enthralling, and keeps the layperson in mind 19 Jan 2004
By Racon2R - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This was an excellent piece of a fascinating and frightening look at germs. The Zimmerman Brothers explain the technical side of medicine and diseases with such clarity and understanding that I couldn't put the book down. If you are intrigued by germs, the fathers of medicine that paved the way for medical advancement, and the truth about how vulnerable we are, this is a can't-miss. One of the most important pieces, I think, are antibiotic-resistant strains of organims caused, in large part, by our own naivete.
"Killer Germs" is by far the best of the field I have ever read.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable reading meets meaningful learning 25 Jan 2008
By Bethany B. Stone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Killer Germs is comprehensive study of human pathogens that weaves in enough history and human interest stories to make it fascinating reading. I use it as my textbook in my Infectious Diseases course at the University of Missouri and the students actually read it. One student said in my course evaluations, "Thanks for picking a textbook that is enjoyable to read! I read it twice this semester and bought a copy for my Dad for his birthday."
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and fun to read 25 July 2005
By Don - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I used this book for one of my classes and I was dreading having to read a book about biology and diseases. After reading the first chapter I got hooked, and couldn't set the book down. I read it in three days while I was out hiking in the woods and it made me a little paranoid about ticks that might be in the grass and other insects! The book definitely makes you think about every living organism that is around you, on you, and inside you.

This is by no means a detailed book about any particular disease, bacteria, or virus. However, it is the perfect book for somebody who has never taken an interest in diseases or epidemics. It is very easy to read and entertaining.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is excellent reading. 11 Dec 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Killer Germs is an excellent book for any and everybody who has an interest in diseases and how they effect mankind. Topics covered include the antibacterial resistance that many microbes have acquired, ebola, AIDS, dengue, hantavirus and many other emerging viruses. The book has an excellent conversational tone and is written simply enough for non-science undergrad major such as myself to understand. Recommended for anyone wanting to learn more about today's emerging viruses.
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