World of Microbes

The World of Microbes
by  Howard Gest

Glossary; Index
C-T, GA **


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Individuals with minimal science education, including students in college biology courses for nonmajors as well as nonbiology professionals and teachers, would benefit by reading this book. The instructional value and overall quality are very high, with subjects developed in a clear and logical manner. In his preface, Gest indicates how pioneers in microbiology altered the course of history. The discovery of the microbial process for acetone, which was in short supply for the manufacture of explosives during World War I, aided the war effort of the Allies. Although Gest does not mention the inventor, it was Chaim Weizmann, an English chemist who was also instrumental in the Balfour Declaration, which led to the establishment of the sovereign nation of Israel. One error in terminology occurs in the section on fungi; toadstools are listed, although the term has no scientific meaning (it is also a common error in the literature).

--Reviewed by Albert Edward Feldman in Science Books and Films, 23/5 (May/June 1988), p. 284.