By a frequent and well-regarded author of nonfiction on a wide variety of subjects, a cogent survey of the facts and issues surrounding the most prevalent ills still with us despite medicine's many advances. Beginning with a deftly crafted scene summing up the superstitions, beliefs, and arguments that typically attend the onset of a cold (""It's no wonder, the way you walk around after a shower...you can't go anywhere feeling like this...chicken soup for lunch,"" insists Mom, while Dad counters, ""It's just a cold...you just have to tough it out. Here...Vitamin C""), Aaseng summarizes the history of knowledge and treatment, clarifies what's known about how these viral disease are contracted and what may help alleviate symptoms, discusses what actually happens to the body and within cells during colds or flu, and concludes with an overview of ongoing research. A number of dark b&w photos of researchers are included, plus some electron microscope views of several viruses (unaccountably, the degree of magnification is omitted). Sensible, thorough, and useful. Glossary; bibliography (recent popular books and articles); index.