A good friend has written a good book. March of the Microbes, just published by Harvard Univ. Press, presents tales from the microbial world, wide and deep. It emphasizes microbial activities that you can see, smell, touch, taste, and, if you include cows belching, hear. John calls these encounters sightings. Some are manifested in our daily doings, such as the teeth we brush, the bread we eat, the beer we drink, or the fish we left overlong in the ‘fridge. Others require us to go farther afield, making trips to the hot springs of Yellowstone Park, fields of legumes, munition factories, or the San Francisco Bay. You may have heard (or seen) many of the sightings described, although some are not commonplace. Did you know that starch becomes the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup via degradation by bacterial enzymes? Or that the famed Carlsbad Caverns are the result of bacterial mining? The microbiologist will find the stories both illuminating and authoritative. The lay person will be astonished at the marvels of our unseen world.
This is a book written with love. John is passionate about all microbes he has ever encountered, bar none, and shares his fervor in a clear, unpretentious manner. I should know. Along with Fred Neidhardt, we have our names on four (or is it five?) books.