The Invisible Enemy: A Natural History of Viruses

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9780198564812: The Invisible Enemy: A Natural History of Viruses

Here is a compelling scientific account of viruses, their history, and the dangers they pose--now and in the future. Viruses are disarmingly small and simple. Nevertheless, the smallpox virus killed over 300 million people in the twentieth century before it was eradicated in 1980. The AIDS virus, HIV, is now the world's biggest killer infection and the single most common cause of death in Africa. In recent years, the outbreaks of several lethal viruses such as Ebola and Hantavirus have caused great public concern--yet most people remain woefully ill-informed.

In this fascinating new book, Dorothy Crawford explains lucidly and accessibly all aspects of the natural history of these deadly parasites and discusses controversial subjects such as CFS and Gulf War Syndrome. The book considers issues such as how man has coped with viruses in the past, where new viruses come from, and whether it would be possible for a new virus to wipe out the human race. Professor Crawford illustrates her arguments with vivid and wide-ranging examples. The result is an informative and highly readable book, which will be read by all those who seek a deeper understanding of these minute but remarkably efficient killers.

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Review:

Though the Berlin Wall has fallen, we find ourselves still struggling with an even older enemy in the eternal Common Cold War. Virologist Dorothy H. Crawford has studied the link between Epstein-Barr virus and human cancer for years, and she casts a wary eye through the electron microscope to check up on them and report on our strange and occasionally deadly symbiosis in The Invisible Enemy.

This slim book, scholarly but accessible, examines these barely living (or unliving, depending on whom you ask) gene packages with a strong emphasis on their disease-causing antics and the intellectual heroics of the various campaigns of eradication and control humans have waged for centuries. Though biological relativists might cringe occasionally at Crawford's dogged humanocentrism, few of them would really pine for the days of smallpox or embrace the raging HIV pandemic if pressed. Crawford looks at the wake of devastation left by these two viruses as well as her own favorite subject, which is strongly implicated in the formation of many cancers. Going a bit farther afield, she explains the weird behavior of the nongenetic reproduction of prions that cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and bovine spongiform encephalopathy; though these scary proteins aren't viruses by any definition, their behavior is similar enough to warrant inclusion. The Invisible Enemy, calmer than its title would suggest, provokes a sense of optimism in the reader. Though the war might last forever, we can hope for fewer and fewer casualties as the years go by. --Rob Lightner

About the Author:


Dorothy Crawford is Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of Edinburgh.

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New 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. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780198564812

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New 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. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780198564812

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Book Description Oxford University Press, 2003. Book Condition: New. 2003. Reprint. Paperback. This text reveals how viruses, with their amazing ability to mutate, have caused devastating diseases in the past and continue to provide one of the greatest challenges to science. The author seeks to provide an accurate account of these nimble parasites and counter media over-dramatization. Num Pages: 288 pages, numerous halftones; figures and maps. BIC Classification: MJCJ; MMFM; PDZ; PSGL. Category: (G) General (US: Trade); (UU) Undergraduate. Dimension: 196 x 122 x 18. Weight in Grams: 216. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780198564812

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Book Description Oxford University Press. Book Condition: New. 2003. Reprint. Paperback. This text reveals how viruses, with their amazing ability to mutate, have caused devastating diseases in the past and continue to provide one of the greatest challenges to science. The author seeks to provide an accurate account of these nimble parasites and counter media over-dramatization. Num Pages: 288 pages, numerous halftones; figures and maps. BIC Classification: MJCJ; MMFM; PDZ; PSGL. Category: (G) General (US: Trade); (UU) Undergraduate. Dimension: 196 x 122 x 18. Weight in Grams: 216. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780198564812

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