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Allies and Enemies: How the World Depends on Bacteria
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Allies and Enemies: How the World Depends on Bacteria

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  100 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Bacteria are invisible, mysterious, deadly, self-sufficient…and absolutely essential for all life, including yours. No other living things combine their elegant simplicity with their incredibly complex role: Bacteria keep us alive, supply our food, and regulate our biosphere. We can’t live a day without them, and no chemical, antibiotic, or irradiation has ever successfull ...more
Kindle Edition, 210 pages
Published (first published June 30th 2010)
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In this book PhD microbiologist Anne Maczulak presents an overview of the bacterial enemies and bacterial allies of humans. On the enemies side we read about well-known and a few lesser known bacterial pathogens, as well as about how they are spread among humans. We hear a little about historical cases, such as Typhoid Mary, and more recent topics, including the use of Anthrax spores as a terrorist weapon and why it is both effective and non-effective. On the allies side, Maczulak describes the ...more

Personally, I find science books fascinating, but I know that many don't. They often lead to deep musings on the nature of the universe..... Oh, sorry, I was musing there for a second.

Well, if you are feeling scientific, it's a good discount from the usual price of twenty dollars, anyway. Get it here. Or there. Or anywhere. :-)
got halfway through it - started to read more like a textbook than non-fiction and i lost interest. subject matter is really intriguing but starts to get too boring. not saying i won't return to it though!
Somewhat informative, but didn't find the organization or writing very engaging. At times, it read like an introductory chapter to microbiology textbooks.
The middle chapters were interesting. The end was dry and I ended up skimming it.
Television commercials constantly inform us that bacteria are everywhere, and if we buy whatever product is being advertised we (and our families - especially our children!) can be protected from 99% of them. The problem is that often we don't need protection from most of the bacteria being destroyed. In fact, our bodies are covered in bacteria - inside and out - and they're generally more helpful than harmful. And if you've paid attention to news stories you'll probably already know that scient ...more
Lis Carey
Most of us mainly know about the bacteria that are bad for us--with good reason. Harmful bacteria can be very harmful indeed, so it's natural that they capture most of our attention.

And that's too bad, because harmful bacteria are a tiny minority, and many of the remainder aren't just harmless. They're vital to such basic functions as digesting our food. They play essential roles in making Earth habitable. The earliest bacteria played a crucial role in creating the free oxygen that made life as
Great introduction to the idea that microbes are everywhere, and that is generally a good thing.
I liked the historical parts best, probably because I'm pretty familiar with the other. Shorter than I thought. 40% of the kindle book is recommended bibliography, endnotes, and an index. This made the end of the book come rather abruptly.
Im not a scientist but I found this book interesting, easy to read and understand. I particularily enjoyed the section about how bacteria has influenced the arts, especially in the style and content of paintings around the time of the black death, and the use of bacteria to clean up images - but also how bacteria is destroying some pieces of art. Bacteria is often percieved in a negative light so was interesting to see an arguement towards the opposite.

The case studies further helped visual bact
Very cool book about the different ways bacteria can and are being used in various industries
This was a good book for introducing people to the science of bacteria. Maczulak did a great job of catering to those interested in the topic but who may not have a background in microbiology. I would recommend germaphobes read this book to understand why bacteria are so important. She doesn't gloss over the fact that bacteria can also be dangerous but she does make some excellent points about how necessary bacteria are to humans and the world as a whole.
Edy Gies
There we several things I found interesting, but over all the interest level for this book was very low. The author is very detailed in her analysis of bacteria and presents an excellent case for the importance for bacteria. Unfortunately, due to my lack of scientific terms and general knowledge much of the details of this book was lost on me. Overall, I thought it was interesting, but not something I could strongly recommend.
A really interesting book about the world of bacteria. I always remember a quote (from Stephen Jay Gould, I believe) that though we may talk about the Age of Fishes or the Age of Reptiles or the Age of Mammals, it has always been and continues to be, the Age of Bacteria. This book is a very easy read. It was disappointingly short though,as almost half the book is appendices.
In this book, Maczulak delves into topics relating to both the history and future of microbiology, including the role of bacteria in the environment, bacteria in human history, the development of antibiotics, bacteria in popular culture, genetic engineering of microbes, bacteria in the ecosystem, and bacteria, fuel and climate change.
Enjoyable book on bacteria dn the world around us. Precise but not textbook-like, it is informative and enjoyable, though again it is a pop-science book, so if you are looking for an academic take on the subject, this is not the book for you.

Very suitable for young adults.
The writing is very flat - it reads like a high-school textbook -- but the information here is so interesting that I didn't care.
A book explaining the ubiquity of bacteria and their essential role in the world.
Very interesting book on bacteria, their variety and the roles they play in our lives.
Every thing I never knew about bacteria. Learned that eating dirt helps.
Emily Wood
really a 3.5, good overview of the applications for bacteria
I had a hard time following Anne's train of thought.
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