Any serious attack on the problems of poverty and starvation, whether at home or abroad, must recognize plant diseases as one of the major obstacles."" The authors estimate that one-fifth of all man's food is devastated by fungi and bacteria, viruses. Their book is a foray into territory little investigated for the general reader. The Holy Fire that terrorized the Middle Ages, that struck Peter the Great's cavalry at Astrakhan, now appears in a new manifestation of ergotism, LSD. The authors speculate on the fate of Moses and the Ten Commandments if there had not been wheat rust in Egypt, foretold by Joseph; relate the revolutions of 1848 to the potato blight that reached Ireland in 1845 and spread, tell of the extensive starvation in World War II due to this phenomenon. Coffee rust turned Ceylon to tea-planting; and who said the tree in the Garden of Eden was apple? The Prophet of the Koran plumps for the banana. In the potpourri is Goodyear's search for a better rubber; diseases of chestnut, elm, and oak. A book for the curious, far-out-fact finding reader, which carries an underlying quotient of concern.