Biography of Resistance: The Epic Battle Between People and Pathogens

Harper Wave. Apr. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780062862976. $28.99. SCI
Bacterial drug resistance is a global public health threat evident in doctor waiting rooms: posters advising patients that they will not receive antibiotics unless medically indicated may seem odd until one realizes that patient demand (and medical personnel looking for a potentially easy fix) might mean an antibiotic prescription even if a need is not evident. Zaman (Howard Hughes Medical Inst. Professor of Biomedical Engineering and International Health, Boston Univ.) unravels a complex narrative through time and place of how bacteria around us has become drug resistant, whether by bacteria’s own natural selection process or the effects of humanity on the natural world. Organized in short chapters loosely tied together by time, topic, or location, Zaman’s work provides the full context of how bacteria resistance is nature at work and intrinsically linked to our futures.
VERDICT Recommended for readers interested in the history of science and medicine, and how human response to global issues informs and impacts pathogen research and antibacterial use.
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