by Bernard Dixon, 237 pp, with illus, $22.95, ISBN 0-7167-4504-6, New York, NY, WH Freeman & Co, 1994.
Reading Paul De Kruifs Microbe Hunters must have stimulated many a young student of my generation toward a career in medicine or microbiology. Now reading Dixon's book is like a déjà vu experience with a modernized version of the same topic. The author provides even a physician-reader with new insights into microbiology and its profound effect on our health and economic and ecological existence.
Chapters dealing with advances in molecular biology of microbes, vaccines, and industrial applications of bacteriology and mycology are all well researched and written in an interesting and even entertaining manner. As such, the book makes good reading for any audience with an interest in the biological sciences and any who wish to broaden their horizons.
No book like this, however, is without some flaws. The one that struck me immediately is Dixon's rather incomplete and perhaps unfair assessment of Louis Pasteur's work. Was Pasteur indeed an
Wilde H. Power Unseen: How Microbes Rule the World. JAMA. 1995;273(15):1233-1234. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520390095045