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Biography of a Germ Paperback – May 15 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (May 15 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385720661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385720663
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #646,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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TO THE NAKED EYE, it is invisible, a nothing. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover
This is undoubtly an interesting subject. Borrelia burgdorferi is an important pathogen and serve as a good model to explain some ways in which we have altered the environment and the resulting ecological consequences. Ecology and microbiology as the ecology of parasites in general are extremely important subjects we should all be conscientious and aware of. Particularly interesting is the ecological history of Borrelia burgdorferi and his vector.
The reason I only gave three stars to this book is that I felt it is superficial. Arno Karlen does not explain intimate relations between Borrelia and Ioxodes, nor between Ioxodes and deer, he just mentions the relations between them, but do not explain intimacies.
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Format: Paperback
Sometimes it's the simple books that help cut down the clutter and look at something in a manageable way. So often books about disease or germs become large dense tomes. Karlen has taken the time to look at a single germ, the one responsible for Lyme Disease, and looks at its past, present and potential future. Along the way he teaches you Biology 101 about germs in a simple and enjoyable manner. A simple book with a simple purpose, but one that shows us an aspect of the world around us we may not have thought about.
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Format: Paperback
Okay, so I must admit... I'm not exactly an expert when it comes to understanding the scientific jargon used in most journals discussing epidemiology and other areas of interest. I love to read about the world around me, but sometimes need a translator to comprehend it all! That's the great thing about Arno Karlen's book, "Biography of a Germ"-- you don't have to have your doctorate in microbacteriology to enjoy this book as a great read. On the surface the subject may seem a bit, well, odd... but Karlen's wit makes it easy to find yourself enthralled with the life and loves of Bb, this book's microscopic hero and hellion all rolled into one tiny spirochete. Before you know it, you are actually LEARNING a thing or two... and enjoying every minute of it! Far beyond just a crack at popular science, "Biography of a Germ" just might provide a few answers not only about the world within but the world around.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read Mr. Karlens book and have heard him speak. I found the book a refreshing unbiased look at the life of a spirochete, Bb. As one who suffers from the disease it was nice to read about the ecology of the germ without all of the controversy regarding diagnosis and treatment. C. Dickey RN
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Format: Hardcover
The germ is the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, and it causes among other things Lyme disease. Karlen is a psychoanalyst by trade and a historian of microbiology by inclination. He fell in love with the world of the very small when as a boy he was given a microscope. Karlen is also a fine prose stylist with a sharp sense of the ecological. In fact this book is really a kind of treatise on ecology, with a concentration on the environment of a bacterium. Borrelia burgdorferi is spread by ticks that bite small animals such as mice and squirrels and larger animals such as deer and sometimes humans. What Karlen accomplishes in this modest little book is to make vivid just what a "germ" is for a general readership. If you are in a fog about microbes and would like a painless, lively introduction, then this book may serve you very well.
I always imagined that bacteria split about every twenty minutes. Here I learned that some bacteria do split every twenty minutes or so, but others take hours and some even longer. I was also fuzzy about just how it is that microbes cause disease. Do they "eat" human flesh or destroy our cells with toxins or hog our nutrients for themselves? Turns out that some do one thing and some do another. Karlen emphasizes that sometimes what they do is cause symptoms: fever, muscle aches, fatigue, inflamation, etc., which are actually the result of our immune system's aggressive response to the presence of something foreign. Sometimes this can get so out of hand that our immune system continues to attack our own cells even after the microbe is gone, as is suspected in rheumatoid arthritis and possibly fibromyalgia (p. 160).
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