Cover image for The invisible invaders : the story of the emerging age of viruses
The invisible invaders : the story of the emerging age of viruses
Radetsky, Peter.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown, [1991]

Physical Description:
xiii, 415 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QR359 .R33 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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From Pasteur to AIDS, the author reports on how scientists and physicians have tracked down the viruses that plague us.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Radetsky coauthored with physicians three previous books on various aspects of healthful activity. His first attempt at medical history is clear and informative on a subject that is not easily popularized. The terminology of viruses is difficult and occasionally misleading. The growth of knowledge about them, their processes, and their surroundings has progressed by fits and starts, by serendipity as well as by scientific effort. Radetsky tells the stories of Jenner, Pasteur, Avery, Enders, Salk, and other well-known pioneers, but he also gives credit to the work of d'Herelle, Cheney, Krugman, and other less publicized but important workers in the scientific Lilliputia that is virology. Throughout, Radetsky writes in a lively manner, full of anecdotes, but without watering down his treatment of any subject. ~--William Beatty

Publisher's Weekly Review

Radetsky, coauthor of Peak Condition, here presents a highly literate and clarifying explanation of the history, nature and operation of viruses responsible for AIDS, cancer and other lethal diseases. Starting with British physician Edward Jenner's 19th-century discovery of a smallpox vaccine, the author profiles research and researchers, recounting in vivid detail how their discoveries have all but eliminated yellow fever, polio and measles and identified the AIDS virus. And, according to Radetsky, research on immunology and the gene-infiltrating, AIDS-type retrovirus may lead not only to the conquest of viral diseases but reveal the ``positive'' role that viruses have long played. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

For better or worse, we're stuck with viruses: they are ubiquitous, as old as any life form on the planet, and--other than humanity itself--perhaps the only agent posing a threat to our very existence. In the tradition of Paul De Kruif's classic Microbe Hunters (HBJ, 1926; 1966. pap. reprint.), Radetsky, a journalist, recounts how scientists and physicians have tracked down ``this tiny, not-quite-alive-yet-not-entirely-dead substance'' from Edward Jenner's smallpox vaccinations to today's research breakthroughs on AIDS. Drawing from personal interviews with scientists and from technical publications, Radetsky succeeds in his aim to inform and intrigue general readers while remaining ``absolutely accurate in terms of the workings of these invisible invaders and the people who spend their lives dealing with them.'' This fascinating and important book is highly recommended for public and medical libraries.-- James Swanton, Albert Einstein Coll. of Medi cine Lib., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

A fascinating account of the role viruses have played in human history. Radetsky, who authored this interesting and readable book, recounts humanity's first victory over viruses via Edward Jenner's vaccination procedure for smallpox. He then describes, in vivid detail, Louis Pasteur's development of the first treatment for rabies. Many other notables in the history of virology are also mentioned, such as Martinus W. Beirjerinck (or Beijerinck), Dmitry I. Ivanowsky, and others. In addition to describing the history of virology, this book also explains what is being done in the field today. It presents the exciting work of Robert Gallo and his team in their search for the AIDS virus. Radetsky deals with the possibilities as well as the problems in the development of an effective vaccine against AIDS. He concludes by discussing the future roles that viruses may play. Perhaps some day viruses may help in curing certain diseases or enhancing genetic endowment. Highly recommended for anyone wanting a greater insight into the world of viruses. General readership. -P. C. Radich, University of Indianapolis