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The Invisible Enemy: A Natural History of Viruses

  • Vividly describes the dangers posed by viruses past and present
  • Includes accounts of deadly new viruses such as Ebola, Hanta, and Lassa fever as well as more mundane ones such as chicken pox and influenza
  • Features fascinating cases of medical discovery past and present

By: Dorothy Crawford(Author)

208 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, b/w maps

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Mar 2002 | Edition: 2 | #131521 | ISBN: 0198564813
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £11.99 $16/€14 approx

About this book

Viruses are disarmingly small and simple. None the less, the smallpox virus killed over 300 million people in the 20th century prior to its eradication in 1980. The AIDS virus, HIV, is now the single most common cause of death in Africa. In recent years, the outbreaks of several lethal viruses such as Ebola and hanta virus have caused great public concern.

In her fascinating and vividly written book, Dorothy Crawford describes all aspects of the natural history of these deadly parasites, explaining how they differ from other microorganisms. She looks at the havoc viruses have caused in the past, where they have come from, and the detective work involved in uncovering them. Finally, she considers whether a new virus could potentially wipe out the human race.

This is an informative and highly readable book, which will be read by all those seeking a deeper understanding of these minute but remarkably efficient killers.

Reviews of the first edition:

"The book is lovingly researched and packed with fascinating anecdotes and I found it extremely difficult to put down [...] No home is complete without this book, if only as a reminder to wash your hands."
Press and Journal

"The Invisible Enemy is accessbile to the genereal reader, accurate and thought-provoking"
– Ian Simmons, The Fortean Times

"I recommend The Invisible Enemy to anyone with questions about the nature of viruses and their role in human diseases [...] The Invisible Enemy is a clear and powerful beacon that penetrates the increasingly dense fog of media reports, folklore and myths"
New Scientist

"Professor Crawford writes in a clear and accessible manner, which successfully conveys her fascination with the subject, and poses lots of interesting questions. Recommended reading for microbiologists; highly recommended for journalists, politicians and the public seeking understanding of big topical issues such as AIDS/HIV and BSE/CJD."
Microbiology Today

" [...] this fascinating book provides a rapid and accessible introduction to modern virology"


Sir Anthony Epstein: Foreword
Introduction: The deadly parasites

1: Bugs, germs, and microbes
2: New viruses or old adversaries
3: Coughs and sneezes spread disease
4: Unlike love, herpes is forever
5: Viruses and cancer
6: Searching for a cure

Conclusion: The future, friends, or foe

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