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Disease: The Story of Disease and Mankind's Continuing Struggle Against It Hardcover – November 1, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847240143
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847240149
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I am a Microbiology major at my University, and in my senior year learned about all 30 of the diseases covered in this book. When I picked it up, I expected many of the scientific details to be glossed over, but was amazed at how much detail was in each chapter, detail that I was tested over in my classes! This book was extremely straight forward, interesting and easy to read. I bought it as a gift for my father upon my graduation because he always seemed so fascinated by my coursework in Microbiology. I haven't yet given it to him, but I know he is going to love it! This book is so well done and so informative for anyone curious about the many amazing and horrific diseases that have affected humans and animals.
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If your children are ready to graduate from Horrible Histories and DK Eyewitness books, or if you are an adult wanting an enjoyable lay persons explanation of disease, this might be the place to start. My 12 year old daughter came home from school very inspired by her science class in which they were studying disease and I bought her this book. She has barely put it down and can't wait to take it to school when winter break is over to show her teacher.
There are four subsections: Bacterial Diseases (plague, leprosy, syphilis, typhus, cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis, puerperal fever, enephalitis), Parasitic Diseases(malaria, african trypnosomiasis, chagas' disease, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, hookworm, onchocerciasis), Viral Diseases (smallpox, measles, yellow fever, dengue fever, rabies, polio, influenza, ebola, AIDs, SARS), and Lifestyle Diseases(scurvy, kuru&CJD, cancer, heart disease).
Each disease is represented by approximately 2-4 two page spreads with timelines, excerpts from journal and other literature, illustrations, maps and explatations. The Plague for example begins by discussing how it is transmitted, discussion of the fictional novel "LaPeste" by Albert Camus, and smaller subsections such as: 'Dead rats and modern Imagination', 'The First Great Plague', 'The Origins of the Black Death', 'The Sorrow and the Pity', 'Rotting Corpses and Silent Bells'.
The book describes treatments, how people thought the disease was spread and the causes vs. what the modern realities are. A small but significant warning for some families: this is for kids who are ready for more mature content. For instance, the section on cancer shows an 'older type' drawing in which a woman's cancerous breast is being cut off with a big shears.
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I just recently bought this book. I've read many books on diseases and infections, and this was definitely not just another repeat. It has an informative and easy-to-read background on the discovery and documented history of the aforementioned. It is the first book like this that I have acquired that has beautiful glossy pages, artwork/photos, and easy-to-read print. I'd venture to say it's readable by 11 y/o plus. I paid an amazing $13; definitely going on my coffee table when I'm through reading it. ;)
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I had this book when I was younger, gave it to a friend to borrow and never got it back. The book is so well written and interestingly informative I started looking for it again.
It is a true eye opener about the history of disease. I would recommend it to anyone.
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This is a large book, suitable for a coffee table, with color illustrations throughout. The production is excellent- heavy paper, lovely layout, historical quotes in large lettering scattered on most pages. Because it's such an attractive book, I was afraid the information would be trivial, something designed for superficial reading. I was delighted to discover that the writing was clear and concise, the information useful. I was surprised (perhaps arrogantly surprised) that I actually learned a lot.

Each disease is described in a historical context, with quotes from contemporaries that provided a sense of what it must have been like to live during an outbreak. The detective work that led to an understanding of each disease reads like a fascinating little mystery story. She explains the current status of the disease and whether or not we should still fear it. By the time you're done, you have a much broader perspective on the history of medical science. You appreciate the role of culture on the cures and also the role of the diseases on culture. And you've got a better sense of how various kinds of pathogens work and what techniques are required to track them down and defeat them.

The book provides enough science to satisfy those of us who read a lot of science, but never gets so technical that it would frighten off a novice. Each section is short enough to easily read in one sitting. I'd highly recommend this as a gift to some young person considering a career in science or medicine. I originally bought it for that reason, but now I'm thinking I might like to just keep it around and read it again.

--Kenn Amdahl, author of "Revenge of the Pond Scum: Searching for the causes of Alzheimer's Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson's Disease"
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Probably the most enjoyable treatment of the subject. What I liked the best is the way in which it is formatted. Each disease is laid out with what you would want to see: the definition of the disease, the vector, the history, the location, the treatment. Each page is accompanied by drawings, paintings and photographs of pertinent history. Although it of course is not comprehensive of the subject, it covers the primary diseases which have been scourges of mankind. It is enjoyable to read and non-technical and I recommend that all adults read it for general knowledge. It would be a good book for a high school health class.
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