Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure

Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure

by Jim Murphy, Alison Blank


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This is the story of a killer that has been striking people down for thousands of years:
tuberculosis. After centuries of ineffective treatments, the microorganism that causes
TB was identified, and the cure was thought to be within reach—but drug-resistant
varieties continue to plague and panic the human race. The “biography” of this deadly
germ, an account of the diagnosis, treatment, and “cure” of the disease over time,
and the social history of an illness that could strike anywhere but was most prevalent
among the poor are woven together in an engrossing, carefully researched narrative.
Bibliography, source notes, index.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544455948
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 07/07/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 267,452
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 10 - 12 Years

About the Author

Jim Murphy's compelling nonfiction books for young readers have received a long list of awards, including two Newbery Honors and a Sibert Medal. This is his first collaboration with his wife, Alison Blank, a children's media creator.They have two sons and live in Maplewood, New Jersey. Visit Jim Murphy at

Table of Contents

This Is the Story 1

1 In the Beginning 3

2 The King's Evil 14

3 "There Is a Dread Disease" 23

4 Into the Mountains 31

5 "To Comfort Always" 40

6 The Cause 51

7 The Outsiders 65

8 The Cure 82

9 "Like a Fairy-Tale" 97

10 Supergerms 104

11 Hot Spots 112

Acknowledgments 123

Bibliography 125

Source Notes 129

Picture Credits 143

Index 145

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Lively text complemented by excellent, well-placed reproductions of photographs, drawings, flyers, woodcuts, posters and ads . . . . Who knew the biography of a germ could be so fascinating?" —Kirkus Review, starred review "This is a solid and timely addition to nonfiction resources on sickness and human history."—VOYA, 4Q 3P J S "An engaging read."—Horn Book "The writing is crisp and clinical . . . Students researching diseases or medical breakthroughs will find this book both informative and interesting."—School Library Journal, starred review "Wide ranging in breadth, yet always well focused on the topic at hand, this fascinating book offers a sharply detailed picture of tuberculosis throughout history."—Booklist, starred review

Customer Reviews

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Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Carolee888 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love to read all things medical, even science fiction medical. So when I saw this children's book about tuberculosis, I thought why not? Also the girl on the cover with the fancy headband beckoned to me. I can remember the special stamps for it and my mother and my husband both found out that they had tuberculosis long after the fact. So I was curious about what they went through.'Invincible Microbes' is richly illustrated with photos, drawings and posters of the past. So it is a joy to look at. Some of my favorites are of Charles II "curing tuberculosis " with a laying on of hands, a photo of a crowded street in New York in 1896 and a picture of patients in a row of beds at a sanatorium outdoors in the winter!There is also a good bibliography and section labeled source notes in the back. I did wish for some footnotes because some of the things were so fantastic that I wanted to match it with the original source and find out more.It tells the history of tuberculosis and everything that is related to it in social history. It is enjoyable reading, never boring. I did wonder if a nine year be interested in it so I would limit it to children with an interest in medicine or history. I thought that the social history was one of the best aspects of this book; I hope that the author tackles other diseases in the same way as this. I would be interested in a book about polio or maybe some disease that children would already have some experience with.I think that it explains concepts such as "Super Germs" very well and encourage children to take all of their medicine even after they are feeling well. Also, the chapter on "Hot Spots" makes the reader realize that tuberculosis still is not eliminated. I received this book from the Amazon Vine Program but that in no way influenced my review.