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Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure Hardcover – July 10, 2012


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Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure + Spitting Blood: The history of tuberculosis + Living in the Shadow of Death: Tuberculosis and the Social Experience of Illness in American History
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Lively text complemented by excellent, well-placed reproductions of photographs, drawings, flyers, woodcuts, posters and ads . . . . Who knew the biography of a germ could be so fascinating?" —Kirkus Review, starred review "This is a solid and timely addition to nonfiction resources on sickness and human history."—VOYA, 4Q 3P J S "An engaging read."—Horn Book "The writing is crisp and clinical . . . Students researching diseases or medical breakthroughs will find this book both informative and interesting."—School Library Journal, starred review "Wide ranging in breadth, yet always well focused on the topic at hand, this fascinating book offers a sharply detailed picture of tuberculosis throughout history."—Booklist, starred review

About the Author

Jim Murphy is the author of An American Plague, which received the Sibert Medal and a Newbery Honor and was selected as a National Book Award finalist. His Clarion titles include The Boys' War and other award-winning nonfiction.
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Product Details

  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1200L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; 1 edition (July 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618535748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618535743
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jim Murphy began his career in children's books as an editor, but managed to escape to become a writer, entering a life of personal and creative happiness and enduring financial uncertainty. He's convinced that the latter keeps him coming back to his computer to write every day and feels that a sense of impending doom is the doorway to creativity. He has never counted the number of books he's published (feeling the time and energy is better spent doing research and writing) but guesses that he has over thirty books to his credit. Jim's work has been honored with numerous awards, including two American Llibrary Association Newbery Honor Book Awards, an ALA Robert F. Sibert Award and Sibert Honor Book Award, three National Council of Teachers of English Orbis Pictus Awards, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Award and a BG/HB Honor Book Award, two SCBWI Golden Kite Awards, and been a finalist for the National Book Award. Recently, he was given the ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award for "his significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature."

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Is TB "invincible"? and for whom is this book appropriate? I couldn't wait to read this as TB has been a historical, scientific and personal interest of mine for years--I studied microbiology through high school into graduate school. So I was quite interested to read "Invincible Microbe." This book shed nothing much new on what I already knew, however, it did provide some references to actual studies on the effects of sunlight on tuberculosis and the evidence of a metabolite of Vitamin D acting as a natural antibiotic. Now, that was something I was not aware of.

However, this book is mostly a rehash of the well-trodden ground of tuberculosis and its place in past and current events and it is well aimed at students. There are plentiful illustrations--good ones, and the text is well written and easy to understand.

The book includes updates such as Direct Observation Therapy (you have to watch the patient take the meds, because if they stop, you end up with a potentially resistant TB microbe proliferating) and discussion of resistant strains, which are on the rise and a real health problem. TB is still a major cause of death in many parts of the world. There is also a discussion of the role of immigrants in the fear of disease and how it pertains to today's immigration dilemma, comparing those who came through Ellis Island and the fear and discrimination they face (though Ellis Island sought to refuse entry to patently ill applicants for immigration) and compares the fear that the public had against new immigrants, a form of xenophobia to today's controversy about illegal aliens. There is an intimation that the prejudice against immigrants and illegal aliens today an identical issue; a fear of disease.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By SuburbanHousewifeMN VINE VOICE on March 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have read a lot of non-fiction books regarding TB and other infectious diseases (researching for my students' projects) and found this book to be well written, illustrated, and easy-to-read. The authors have done a fabulous job breaking complex terms and vocabulary into simplified, yet deep, explanations. The primary photographs used throughout the book capture the natural, and sometimes sad, state of TB patients. There is an array of illustrations, medical terminology, and historic context in this book making a must-have in my teaching collection. Highly recommended! No wishy-washy science in this book- simply factual evidence and historical findings.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am a homeschooling mother who prefers using real or "living books" instead of boring textbooks, especially for the middle school and elementary grades for learning about nonfiction topics such as science and history.

I own and have read several of Jim Murphy's books and appreciate that he writes detailed nonfiction books that educate deeply (and do not dumb down the content), that he can write in an engaging, non-boring style and that he does NOT use a patronizing tone. I also like that he sometimes chooses to write about topics that have been ignored by the children's publishing industry (like TB).

Murphy writes deeply on topics and some may even ask, "Do kids really want to know all this detail. Do they care?" and "Who is reading these books really"? This book is marketed to children aged 9-12. This is Murphy's first writing partnership with his wife Alison Blank who writes and edits children's publications. I noticed a difference in the writing style of this collaborative work. I got a sense that the writing was a bit watered down in the beginning of the book. However at other parts I thought maybe not enough was done to bring this down to the level of the age of the readers. Even a labeled gifted student or any bright kid at age 9 or 10 may not know the terms disingenuous or grudgingly, to name just two. Other times large or uncommon words are used when I felt the writing could have explained things a bit more or another word could have been selected. I was torn about the book, thinking sometimes it was "just right", sometimes it was a bit easier to read or simplified more than necessary yet other times it was talking over a 9-12 year Old's head.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Diane M. Rafter on February 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyed this book. Having grown up in an era when TB is not a common disease and is so rare that an occurance makes the national news, I found this book fascinating. Not a dry medical history. I own property in the Adirondacks near an old TB sanatorium and this put gives it new life. Diane MB
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Having worked two summers as an orderly at a Baltimore area tuberculosis hospital over forty years ago, I looked forward to reading the advance copy of "Invincible Microbe." Had I read such a book before taking the job at Mt. Wilson Hospital, I might have had second thoughts. It turned out being a rewarding job for the young Spudman.

What did I think of this book? In the front of the book I saw a designation for ages 9-12. I never would have guessed such a young target audience and most likely would have guessed a starting age of 12 for excellent, mature readers. From an adult perspective I thoroughly enjoyed the book and finished it in two days thanks to the generous sprinkling of illustrations, nearly 20 pages of notes in the back, and the interesting content. If this book's audience truly extends to elementary age students, the authors definitely don't write down to them.

I like that when the authors use uncommon words like stethos, facade, or phthisis, they define the word after using it in context. Such help was welcome for even this experienced reader. Readers of this book will encounter information relating to the history of medical treatment, medicine, tuberculosis, and the relentless search for a tuberculosis cure. Much quackery is detailed and some brutal treatments are described like collapsing a lung to deprive the tuberculosis germs of oxygen and thoracoplasty which involved removing multiple ribs and often killing the patient

In Chapter Seven, The Outsiders, the authors wander off topic a bit dwelling on the topic of illegal immigrants and expending precious native resources to treat them.
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