An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives


Product Details

Publish Date
5.9 X 9.0 X 1.25 inches | 1.15 pounds

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About the Author

Matt Richtel has covered technology and telecommunications in the New York Times's San Francisco bureau since 2000. Under the pen name Theron Heir, he writes the syndicated daily comic strip, Rudy Park, which is published in newspapers around the country. Dubbed by Newsweek as a contender for comic strip of the decade, Rudy Park revolves around the lives and employees and regulars of an Internet café.


"Matt Richtel's An Elegant Defense is a comprehensive and engaging primer on the body's 'ever-vigilant, omnipresent peacekeeping force.' The immune system plays an essential role in fighting infections and cancer and in regulating our normal health. Read this superb book to better understand one of the enduring mysteries of human biology."--SANDEEP JAUHAR, New York Times bestselling author of Heart: A History
"An expert examination of the immune system. ... Richtel illuminates a complex subject so well that even physicians will learn."--Kirkus, STARRED review
"A hard-to-put-down account of the body's first line of defense."--Publishers Weekly
"Richtel approaches this essential subject with awe, his writing meticulous and empathic."--Booklist, STARRED Review
"Vividly told. ... Explicates for the lay reader the intricate biology of our immune system. ... Richtel succeeds in this formidable task."--JEROME GROOPMAN, New York Review of Books
"In this thorough investigation, Richtel details the explosion of knowledge over the past 70 years. ... He weaves into his narrative four case studies [that] add a moving personal dimension."--BBC, "10 Books to Read This Month"
"Deeply affecting. ... A compelling modern history of--as well as an elegant defense for--the preeminent science of our time."--Los Angeles Review of Books
"Award-winning reporter Matt Richtel examines the scientific and human realities of immune anomaly through four case studies. ... Through these harrowing accounts, Richtel interweaves the research history."--Nature, "Best Science Picks"
"A deeply reported and entertainingly written exploration of the human immune system and how it works."--USA Today ("5 Books Not to Miss")
"An engaging deep dive into our immune system."--Men's Health
"A remarkable journey of exploration inside the human body. ... Richly informative and engaging. ... Eminently readable and with so many important takeaways, An Elegant Defense is well worth one's investment of time."--Shelf Awareness
"Plumbs the enormous impact of the human immune system. ... Despite the topic's staggering complexity... the heart and craft of a fine storyteller emerges most memorably."--Mercury News
"A thorough, richly entertaining and just-wonky-enough beginner's class in immunology through the case studies of four patients."--Wall Street Journal
"Enlightening. ... Readers who suffer from challenged immune systems will welcome validation for the physical and emotional trials they endure, gain deeper understanding of their ailments, and find hope for the future. Readers who are interested in the human body's capacity to both harm or heal itself will be fascinated."--New York Journal of Books
"A deeply reported account of how the immune system works. ... Richtel weaves dense, complex research into suspense and human drama; his book reads, at times, like a harrowing mystery novel."--Spirituality and Health magazine
"Richtel's new book is so useful. ... Give[s] lay readers a means of understanding what's known so far about the intricate biology of our immune systems."--The Week, "Book of the Week"
"Richtel brilliantly blurs the lines between biology primer, medical historical text and the traditional first-person patient story. ... Richtel harnesses his reporter's eye for the human condition."--Washington Post
"A sweeping overview of immunology's history. ... The prose in An Elegant Defense is vibrant, conversational, direct and often funny. ... The content is captivating and useful."--Science News
"[An] entertaining and a worthwhile read."--The Missourian
"One of those rare nonfiction books that transcends the genre. ... A fascinating and engrossing account of the latest, and quite astonishing, discoveries involving the human immune system. ... An inspiring and wonderful read. ... I highly recommend this extraordinary book."--Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God
"Compelling. ... Richtel enthusiastically and compassionately demystifies the science and the story of one of the most intricate and misunderstood landscapes of human biology. ... A celebration of life and the journey we all share."--Washington Independent Review of Books
"Remarkable. ... Richtel is a gifted storyteller. ... A story about cutting-edge science, humanely told."--Matt McCarthy, USA Today
"Fascinating. ... Rooted in evidence-based research. ... Compelling."--AudioFile
"Books like An Elegant Defense give mainstream readers insights into that process, insights that run deeper than those a textbook might provide. When we understand how science really works, perhaps we will be a bit less susceptible to anti-scientific seductions. Richtel's elegant analogies and compelling human stories will help us remember the basic concepts of modern immunology long after the jargon and acronyms have been forgotten."--Commentary
"A mind-blowing page-turner with moving yet playful human dramas."--MindBodyGreen