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INVINCIBLE MICROBE by Jim Murphy Kirkus Star


Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure

by Jim Murphy & Alison Blank

Age Range: 9 - 14

Pub Date: July 10th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-618-53574-3
Publisher: Clarion

Murphy and Blank chronicle the story of the tuberculosis microorganism, the greatest serial killer of all time.

Tuberculosis has been infecting people for millions of years and has killed over a trillion humans. This fascinating tale unfolds as a biography of a germ, an account of the treatment and search for cures, and a social history of the disease. As Murphy treated yellow fever in An American Plague (2003), this volume offers a lively text complemented by excellent, well-placed reproductions of photographs, drawings, flyers, woodcuts, posters and ads. The images include an Edvard Munch painting depicting the death of his 16-year-old sister of tuberculosis, a flyer for a Paul Laurence Dunbar poetry reading with a discussion of how minorities were denied proper medical care, a drawing showing death coming for Irish-born author Laurence Sterne and a photograph of Anne, Emily and Charlotte Brontë, all of whom died of tuberculosis. The broad focus of the slim volume allows it to be about many things: medical discovery, technology, art and how people from all walks of life have dealt with a deadly disease that pays no attention to social distinctions. The bibliography is thorough, and even the source notes are illuminating.

Who knew the biography of a germ could be so fascinating? (acknowledgments, picture credits, index [not seen]) (Nonfiction. 9-14)