Infectious: Pathogens and How We Fight Them (Paperback)
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The human body is a marvel – but what happens when it comes under attack? A fascinating guide to why we get sick and how we get better.
‘The perfect gift for the armchair epidemiologist’ Wall Street Journal
Nature wants you dead.
Not just you, but your children and everyone you have ever met and everyone they have ever met; in fact, everyone. It wants you to cough and sneeze and poop yourself into an early grave. It wants your blood vessels to burst and pustules to explode all over your body. And – until recently – it was really good at doing this…
The subject of infection and how to fight it grows more urgent every day. How do pathogens cause disease? And what tools can we give our bodies to do battle? Infectious is not only a vital overview of what goes awry in our bodies, but also a hopeful story of ongoing human ingenuity.
About the Author
Dr John S. Tregoning is a scientist and researcher whose work focuses on how viruses and bacteria infect the lungs and how our immune system fights them. He is currently reader in respiratory infections at Imperial College London, where he runs a research group on infectious diseases. John has published over sixty academic papers and had a regular column in Nature during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has written articles for Times Higher Education and Science, and has been interviewed by outlets including the BBC and Sunday Telegraph. He tweets at @DrTregoning.
‘Tregoning is a gifted writer of popular science. He has a knack for explaining the intricacies of vaccines and immunity without dumbing them down, and he moves things briskly along with a barrage of often self-deprecating humor.’
— Wall Street Journal
‘This book catapults us to the frontier of the vital science of infections and immune responses. Tregoning is a perfect guide, writing with wit and intelligence about a subject that surely everyone feels the importance of now. Brilliant and right on the zeitgeist.’
— Daniel M. Davis, author of The Beautiful Cure
‘Packed with fascinating facts, intriguing anecdotes and more than a few Dad jokes, Infectious is an expertly guided, pacey tour through the world of all the stuff that’s trying to kill us and how our immune systems and human ingenuity are fighting back.’
— Dr Kat Arney, science communicator and author of Rebel Cell
‘What a book! A book for everyone, an expert, or an interested lay person, young or retired or somewhere in the middle. Informed, engaging, generous and superbly written. If you have secretly wondered about some of the information of the last year (as we all have) and want one book to explain it all with total clarity – this is the book for you. I started it and could not put it down. The best, most accessible, high-quality science book I have read this year. Utterly brilliant.’
— Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust
‘To call this book timely would be yet another contender for understatement of this strange decade. As the pandemic has upended the world and ravaged the population, it’s a duty for all of us civilians to turn to experts like Dr Tregoning with due humility, and educate ourselves about what’s happening to us, how we got here, how we’ve dealt with similar events in the past, and how we might get through this. This book is thorough, engaging, entertaining and utterly vital.’
— Frank Turner, singer-songwriter
‘Lovely, warm, erudite and, above all, chatty.’
— Chris van Tulleken
‘Despite the serious subject, Tregoning (who got COVID-19) maintains a sense of humor… This is a fascinating and timely account of often unheralded scientists heroically battling bacteria and viruses.’