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Killer Germs [Kindle Edition]

Barry E. Zimmerman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Everything readers ever wanted to know about deadly viruses, killer parasites, flesh-eating microbes, and other lifethreatening beasties but were afraid to ask

What disease, known as "the White Death" has killed 2 billion people, and counting?

What fatal disease lurks undetected in air conditioners and shower heads, waiting to become airborne?

How lethal is the Ebola virus, and will there ever be a cure for it?

How do you catch flesh-eating bacteria?

Killer Germs takes readers on a fascinating (sometimes horrifying) journey into the amazing world of viruses, bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and worms and explores the roles they have played in shaping the course of human history. From biblical plagues, to the AIDS crisis, to supergerms of the future, this updated and revised edition of the original covers the whole gamut of diseases that have threatened humanity since its origins.

It also includes a new chapter on the history of bioterrorism and the deplorable role it has played and is likely to play in the phenomenal diversity of diseases. 


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Editorial Reviews

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.


Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pestilential Education March 3, 2001
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-
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, enthralling, and keeps the layperson in mind January 18, 2004
By Racon2R
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.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable reading meets meaningful learning January 25, 2008
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."
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is excellent reading. December 10, 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Outdated... June 8, 2012
By Alej
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've should have checked the expiration date. Truly, not a bad book on the subject all though I expected a bit more dept.
There is very little here that is not covered in "The coming plague" or historically better told in "the microbe hunters", and both books are much older than this one. Scary re-scenarios of hemorrhagic fever? Go to "the Hot zone".
I expected a better bioterrorism chapter, but most of it focuses on making the case of "Saddam Hussein has bio-weapons" which, in the advantage of hind site, diminishes the importance of the chapter. Does not even mention the japanese Bio-weapons program and the infamous Unit 731. A couple of good points on national prevention and individual preparation are raised.

Buy it second hand or wait for a new version.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and fun to read July 25, 2005
By Don
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource - Great Read! February 12, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Killer Germs provides an excellent introduction and then some into the fascinating but deadly world of the infectious diseases along with their histories, their amazingly unpredictable ability to adapt and overcome, and the never ending pursuit of containment and eradication. All the biggies are covered; Influenza, Small Pox, AIDS, Hemorrhagic Fevers, Swine Flu, Lyme, etc., and Parasites. Particularly interesting was the chapter of the often forgotten "White Death" - Tuberculosis! The disease that has cumulatively caused more human deaths than any other pathogen since the dawn of man and is still going strong, and getting stronger! The book also discusses the little talked about but very deadly Prions and there potential to rise to the top of the public health threat list. Excellent book and highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Sam
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a great book! I particularly enjoyed the historical perspectives regarding the foundations of microbiology. The chapters are organized in a very coherent and logical manner. Whether a layman or familiar with the subject, you will enjoy reading this book tremendously. I read this book on my kindle and found myself making continuous highlights on numerous quotes and analogies, which I found remarkably interesting. I would recommend this book to anyone from high school and up. Oh and this is the first time I am actually writing a review so imagine how impressed I was.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars For the biologically inclined
Book is so awesome!! It's got a lot of information in it, but the language isn't too dense so it's pretty easily understandable by anyone. LOVED IT!
Published 12 days ago by chloe bank
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Book arrived new as advertised and earlier than expected.
Published 27 days ago by UNCW86
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
awesome read
Published 1 month ago by hereinva
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary and easy read
Written so none science readers can understand the micro world around us...all around us and the threat that viruses present in a world where in a couple of hours you can be in... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Diana Fenton
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, but freaked me out
I already have a thing about germs. I wouldn't call myself germaphobic because it's not that bad. I had to read this for a biology class and by the time I was done with it I... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kristen
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books on the subject
This was not just one of the best books I have read, but such a good book on the subject. The authors made the difficult subject of diseases and biology readily accessible, putting... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lucas Abromowitz
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book
I don't have time to expand much but I really enjoyed reading this book.
Great explanations and great history of medicine.
Published 5 months ago by Danny
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun read
Not always objective. Some of the bibliographies are questionable (I don't consider magazines highly reputable) Overall a fun read, but I wasn't able to take it really serious.
Published 7 months ago by Chelsea Havens
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting read
im taking a medical microbiology class and this book was a good way to read about pathogens and disease without having to suffer through another boring textbook.
Published 10 months ago by *****
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary but fascinating.
Scary but fascinating. What a well written book. I highly recommend it. Don't know if you will sleep at night. All around good book.
Published 12 months ago by Elf
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