The past year has been one of viral panic—panic about viruses, that is. Through headlines, public health warnings, and at least one homemade hazmat suit, we were reminded of the powerful force of viruses. They are the smallest living things known to science, yet they can hold the entire planet in their sway.
A Planet of Viruses is Carl Zimmer’s eye-opening look at the hidden world of viruses. Zimmer, the popular science writer and author of National Geographic’s award-winning blog The Loom, has updated this edition to include the stories of new outbreaks, such as Ebola, MERS, and chikungunya virus; new scientific discoveries, such as a hundred-million-year-old virus that infected the common ancestor of armadillos, elephants, and humans; and new findings that show why climate change may lead to even deadlier outbreaks. Zimmer’s lucid explanations and fascinating stories demonstrate how deeply humans and viruses are intertwined. Viruses helped give rise to the first life-forms, are responsible for many of our most devastating diseases, and will continue to control our fate for centuries. Thoroughly readable, and as reassuring as it is frightening, A Planet of Viruses is a fascinating tour of a formidable hidden world.