Catalogue


The discovery of the germ : twenty years that transformed the way we think about disease /
John Waller.
imprint
New York : Columbia University Press, c2002.
description
197 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
ISBN
023113150X (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
series title
imprint
New York : Columbia University Press, c2002.
isbn
023113150X (alk. paper)
catalogue key
5214808
 
Includes bibliographical references.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
John Waller is a research fellow at University College London's Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-03-01:
Most people learned whatever they know about the discovery of the connection between germs and disease either from Paul DeKruif's Microbe Hunters (1926) or from a chapter of their high school biology text. Waller (research fellow, University College London's Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine) presents a new telling of an old tale. The familiar characters are here--Pasteur, Lister, Koch, Semmelweis--and others who will be new to many readers--Davaine, Haffkine, and Wright. The development of the germ theory was hardly linear; fields as diverse as agriculture, sericulture, or surgery contributed necessary pieces. Waller handles these diverse threads and weaves a coherent narrative out of them. Besides describing how the idea of "germ" grew into today's microbiology, Waller also includes perspectives on science from recent social histories of science and medicine that place the discovery of germs in its social and intellectual context. The book's ample-for-its-size bibliography is a useful tool. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates. T. P. Gariepy Stonehill College
Reviews
Review Quotes
[A]n excellent read for a general audience and packs a lot of information on the beginnings of the microbiology of disease.
"[A]n excellent read for a general audience and packs a lot of information on the beginnings of the microbiology of disease." -- Science Books and Films
large in human drama...It is a history book that reads like a novel. Highly recommended for all academic libraries
"large in human drama...It is a history book that reads like a novel. Highly recommended for all academic libraries" -- Jitka Hurych, E-Streams
This engaging book reads as a success story of scientific progress.
"This engaging book reads as a success story of scientific progress." -- Marjorie C. Malley, ISIS
Waller presents a new telling of an old tale.... The development of the germ theory was hardly linear; fields as diverse as agriculture, sericulture, or surgery contributed necessary pieces. Walter handles these diverse threads and weaves a coherent narrative out of them.... Highly recommended.
"Waller presents a new telling of an old tale.... The development of the germ theory was hardly linear; fields as diverse as agriculture, sericulture, or surgery contributed necessary pieces. Walter handles these diverse threads and weaves a coherent narrative out of them.... Highly recommended." -- Choice
Waller skillfully tells the tale of mankind surfacing to scientific and medical enlightenment after millennia spent in a cave: little book, big story.
"Waller skillfully tells the tale of mankind surfacing to scientific and medical enlightenment after millennia spent in a cave: little book, big story." -- Booklist
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, November 2003
Choice, March 2004
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
From the time of Hippocrates to that of Louis Pasteur, the medical profession relied on plausible but almost wholly mistaken ideas about the causes of and best treatments for infectious illness. Bleeding, purging, and mysterious nostrums remained staple remedies, and surgeons, often wearing filthy butcher's aprons, blithely spread infection from patient to patient. Then between 1879 and 1900 came the germ revolution. After two decades of scientific virtuosity, outstanding feats of intellectual courage, bitter personal rivalries, and a large dose of good fortune, doctors came to realize infectious diseases are caused by microscopic organisms. The discovery of the germ led to safe surgery, large-scale vaccination programs, dramatic improvements in hygiene and sanitation, and the pasteurization of dairy products. Above all, it set the stage for the emergence of antibiotic medicine. John Waller provides insight into twenty years in the history of medicine that profoundly changed the way we view disease. He shows how the germ revolution was made possible not only by the risk taking and raw ambition of several brilliant late-century pioneers, but also by the groundwork -- including mistakes and near misses -- of earlier generations of scientists. Rich in human drama, The Discovery of the Germ charts how, why, and by whom germ theory was transformed from a hotly disputed speculation to a central tenet of modern medicine. It examines the ideas and experiments of the giants of microbiology, Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch, as well as less well known figures such as Casimir-Joseph Davaine, Waldemar Haffkine, and Almroth Wright.
Main Description
-- Science Books & Films
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. v
Acknowledgementsp. vii
Introduction: Revolutionary, by Any Standardsp. 1
Before the Germp. 7
The World According to William Brownriggp. 9
The Germs of Revolution, 500 BC-1850 ADp. 23
Arsenals of Deathp. 25
Contagious Effluviap. 30
Leeuwenhoek's 'Little Animals'p. 36
Revolution in Parisp. 43
Dirt, Disease and Decayp. 51
The End of the Beginningp. 66
Cue, Louis Pasteurp. 73
Two Duelsp. 75
The English Disciplep. 89
Worms, Chickens and Sheepp. 95
The Plight of the Silkwormp. 97
Anthraxp. 103
Koch's Postulatesp. 121
1881: Potatoes and Postulatesp. 123
The Four Big Ones, 1881-1899p. 133
The White Plaguep. 135
Cholera, Suez and Pettenkoferp. 144
Pasteur's Gatekeeperp. 160
Typhoid Feverp. 173
Conclusion: A New Sciencep. 187
Bibliography and Further Readingp. 193
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem