Friday, February 21

Book Reviews: Vanished & Missing Microbes

There hasn't been a lot of time to read lately, but I did recently finish two fantastic books that I wanted to pass along:

Vanished the Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II
This book hooks you from the first page and never lets go as it spins out the beautifully interwoven stories of the crew of a B-24 bomber lost near the islands of Palau during WW II's Pacific Campaign, their families, and the men who search and scour obscure records and the island's aquamarine channels to find them and bring the fallen men home.

The author perfectly balances the backstories and history with chronicling the search as it develops, flounders, and ultimately comes into its own. The book was driven by mysteries that capture the imagination, and the descriptive details brought every diverse environment to life - from the sandy paradise beaches to the cramped, cold interior of the B-24. There are times when the families' stories will make you want to weep, and other parts where you want to cheer with the searchers for their successes.

This was one of the best WWII books I have read, and I highly recommend it.

Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues

Scientist and author Martin Blaser illuminates the hidden costs of the modern world's obsession with antibiotics.

Blaser explores the long term consequences of heavy antibiotic use on individuals and society, and draws clear (and disturbing) links between overuse of antibiotics and modern plagues including diabetes, obesity, IBS/ulcerative colitis, asthma, and escalating food allergies. Using decades of sound scientific research and examples from both modern life and the history of medicine, he offers a slightly frightening but completely realistic picture of where we are headed as a planet if we don't change our ways. The book outlines key problems, offers viable (but not easy) solutions, and calls on all of us as a society to make better choices while we still can. The book was a little on the dry side, but clearly written by a man passionate about his subject and it provides significant food for thought. An excellent read, and one we all do well to pay attention to!

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