Book cover with photograph of Emile Roux

Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif

From Goodreads

The book discusses the giants of germ theory and does so in a way that makes these scientists approachable as real men with real emotions. It must have been a groundbreaking book when it first came out in the 1920s. It is amazing how many researchers and physicians from my generation read and were impacted by this book.


An international bestseller, translated into eighteen languages, Paul de Kruif’s classic account of the first scientists to see and learn about the microscopic world continues to fascinate new readers. This is a timeless dramatization of the scientists, bacteriologists, doctors, and medical technicians who discovered the microbes and invented the vaccines to counter them. De Kruif writes about how seemingly simple but really fundamental discovers of science—for instance, how a microbe was first viewed in a clear drop of rain water, and when, for the first time, Louis Pasteur discovered that a simple vaccine could save a man from the ravages of rabies by attacking the microbes that cause it.

This book was not only a bestseller for a lengthy period after publication, it has remained high on lists of recommended reading for science and has been an inspiration for many aspiring physicians and scientists.


I’ll put it simple. I love microbiology. It is fascinating how much you can learn from something so little. This book came to me thanks to my fist Microbiology class “General Microbiology” which was my favorite. It is a simple book with all the mayor microbiology discoveries, told in a very light and interesting way.

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title and small photo of Walter Reed

Vanquishing Yellow Fever by Edward F. Dolan

Epub or Mobi?

The epub format below is for your Apple and Android devices and in one case for Amazon devices. As you may know, Amazon has changed to the epub format to use with the Send to Kindle program. A great feature of the Send to Kindle program is that the file will go directly to your Library folder, and not have to be searched for in ES File Explorer or another app. If you use the mobi format in Send to Kindle, you will now get an error message. You can see instructions about Send to Kindle at

So if you are using this ebook on Apple, or Android devices, or in the Send to Kindle program, you can download this epub file below.

If you or your students want to download directly from this web site to  an Amazon device, you can use the mobi format below. When you find the mobi file  in ES File Explorer, it will then open in the Kindle app on your tablet. If you download an epub file to your Amazon tablet, it will also open if you have an app such as Overdrive on your tablet. The Kindle app offers an excellent reading experience to start with. Overdrive may need some customization of font size.

No sooner had the Spanish-American War ended —a war lasting less than five months—than a killer of men appeared in Cuba that was far deadlier than any man-made arms. Yellow fever, which for centuries had ravaged the island population, struck down Cubans and Americans alike.

The cause of yellow fever was unknown. It was believed to be spread by disease-fouled bedding and clothes of the victims. With only this theory at hand, Walter Reed went to Cuba in 1900 as head of the Army’s Yellow Fever Commission. His orders from Surgeon General George Sternberg were: “Wipe it out, Major, before it destroys all of the American occupation force in Cuba, wipe it out if you can.”

Reed was well qualified for the task. When the Spanish-American War had broken out, he had been appointed chairman of a committee to investigate the cause and mode of propagation of typhoid fever, which had broken out among the soldiers. His Report on the Origin and Spread of Typhoid Fever in U. S. Military Camps, published after Reed’s death, revealed a number of facts about the disease that had not been known before.

Earlier Reed and an associate had disproved the theory of Giuseppe Sanarelli, that the Bacillus icteroides was the cause of yellow fever.
Vanquishing Yellow Fever is the story of brave men—those doctors James Carroll, Jesse Lazear, and Aristides Agramonte, who served with Reed on the Commission, and the volunteers who risked their lives by subjecting themselves to the bite of the dreaded mosquito. Edward Dolan presents this dramatic story in a striking and gripping manner.

The determination of the Commissioners to succeed is a lesson in itself. At first they met defeat at every turn; finally they turned to the discredited theory of Dr. Carlos Juan Finlay: that the yellow fever virus was carried by the mosquito, Culex fasciatus, and that the disease was induced by its bite.

Dr. Jesse Lazear died proving the validity of this theory by experimenting upon himself. Reed, after successfully carrying out his orders, returned to Washington, D. C, in 1901, where he died November 23, 1902. The Army general hospital in Washington, D. C. was named in his honor.

Louis Pasteur by Mary June Burton

Louis Pasteur-Founder of Microbiology by Mary June Burton

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Learn how Louis Pasteur discovered which microbes were beneficial and which were deadly to mankind.

His years of patient and exhaustive research on the germ theory of disease earned this tireless French chemist a place as one of the true IMMORTALS OF SCIENCE.

Perhaps Pasteur is best known for showing how harmful bacteria could be killed by holding them at a definite temperature for a certain length of time. Later this process acquired its discoverer’s name—pasteurization.

And Pasteur improved the practice of medicine in his day in a major way. It was his research that inspired the British surgeon Joseph Lister to demand that doctors keep germs out of surgeries. Post-surgery deaths from gangrene plummeted due to the work of Pasteur and Lister. Gangrene did not have to set in after surgery if doctors, instruments and bandages and beddings were germ free.

Pasteur was also instrumental in opening a breach in the fight against cholera, yellow fever, and diphtheria. This biography is written at a 10.3 grade level according to the Flesch-Kincaid readability scale available in Microsoft Word.

Jenner vaccinating a boy

Edward Jenner and Smallpox Vaccination by Irmengarde Eberle

His Discoveries Saved Millions of Lives

To read this ebook on a computer using Google Play Books, or iBooks on your tablet or iPad, download this epub format.

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Directions on how to email this file to your device are here.
To add this mobi file to your Kindle for PC software to read the chapters on your computer, see these instructions .

The Kindle Personal Document Service allows teachers, or librarians to send a mobi file to up to 15 student Kindle email addresses at a time.

With Calibre, you and your students can read this ebook in epub format on computer screens. By changing the background color, and enlarging the font, the reading experience on a computer screen is reasonable. On Chromebooks, you will need to use Google Play Books. Calibre is not available for Chromebooks.



Image of Joseph Lister

Master Surgeon–A Biography of Joseph Lister by Lawrence Farmer

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It has been said that there are only two periods in the history of surgery: before Lister and after Lister. In this full-length biography, Laurence Farmer tells the fascinating story of the brilliant, dedicated man who developed the revolutionary concept of antiseptic surgery.

The reader is given a vivid picture of the deplorable hospital conditions of the mid-nineteenth century, and the strong resistance to change that existed even among the most distinguished medical men of the day. Against this background, Joseph Lister’s long struggle to prove his theories about hospital infection and to achieve their acceptance by his colleagues stands out in dramatic relief.

Although the majority of the book is devoted to Lister’s career as a surgeon and researcher, there are many interesting details of his Quaker family background, his education, and his unusually happy marriage. Lister emerges not only as a great scientist, but as a human being of dignity, strength, and tenderness.

Grade Level is 10.8 using the Flesch-Kincaid readability test with three sample chapters.

The Curies and Radium by Elizabeth Rubin

Grade Level on the Flesch-Kincaid readability scale is 6.4. Download an epub version for your Android tablet or phone:

Download a mobi file for your Kindle device: PIERRE and MARIE CURIE are perhaps the most remarkable husband-and-wife team in the history of science. Together they set out to isolate the mysterious radioactive substance in the masses of pitchblende ore available to them in the old shed that was their laboratory. It was back-breaking work, but Marie and Pierre kept at it. Finally, they obtained a product whose radiation was four hundred times greater than that of uranium! Marie called the new element Polonium, after her beloved native Poland. Later, they isolated their famous element radium — nine hundred times as active as uranium! Pierre’s brilliant career was cut short by his tragic death in 1906, but Marie went on with their courageous work alone. In 1911, she received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of radium. True, it was Marie’s long exposure to radium and X-rays that caused her death. But out of her death came life, for radium is one of modern medicine’s greatest life-savers. The basic idealism and determination of the Curies are captured for budding scientists to ponder. Scientific language is suitable for young readers.

Directions on how to email this file to your device are here.
To add this mobi file to your Kindle for PC software to read the chapters on your computer, see these instructions .

The Kindle Personal Document Service allows teachers, or librarians to send a mobi file to up to 15 student Kindle email addresses at a time.

With Calibre, you and your students can read this ebook in epub format on computer screens. By changing the background color, and enlarging the font, the reading experience on a computer screen is reasonable.


Koch at at a microscope

Robert Koch: Father of Bacteriology by David C. Knight

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Robert Koch loved to solve problems. He wanted to end the anthrax infections that were killing so many of his neighbors’ sheep and cattle. And then he began working on an even smaller microbe that caused tuberculosis and was killing millions around the world.

This is a story of his investigations told in a readable prose for young adults and with enough details to satisfy adult readers. The author tells the Koch story well. Koch’s energy and dedication are still inspiring.

Those closest to Koch admired him for the ideal scientific worker that he was. They admired the severe way he himself criticized his own work; the high intelligence he brought to every problem; the inventiveness he used in overcoming great obstacles. Perhaps most of all they admired his great courage and constant hard work in sticking to something where other scientists had failed.

The grade level is 8.7 on the Flesch-Kincaid readability scale in Microsoft Word. A study guide is included at the end of the ebook for secondary school students.


Cover with Image of Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday: From Errand Boy to Master Physicist by Harry Sootin

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The life story of one of the leading scientists of the last century whose experiments led to the development of the dynamo, the electric motor, and to an industrial revolution.

Michael Faraday, son of a blacksmith, was appren­ticed at fourteen to a bookbinder in whose shop he gained most of his education and acquired an interest in science—from the Encyclopedia Britannica. That interest changed and dominated his entire life, and led from errand boy to Fellow of the Royal Society.

Faraday attracted the attention of Sir Humphry Davy, a Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institu­tion, who hired the boy as a laboratory assistant. Fara­day worked with the professor on chemical research for a number of years. He discovered benzene, butylene and the acids of naphthalene, but he never lost interest in electricity and conducted thousands of ex­periments in an effort to turn electrical energy into mechanical motion. Fie invented the first primitive dynamo and equally primitive motor, and made the first generator.

For forty years Faraday lived and worked in his rooms and laboratory at the Royal Institution. When Queen Victoria learned that he and his wife were finding it difficult to climb the stairs to their attic rooms, she presented him with one of the houses in Hampton Green Court.

Faraday was a simple man, proud and sensitive. He loved his work and refused many commercial offers that would have made him a fortune. He also refused a knighthood from a grateful country to whom he brought honor and glory as its leading scientist. Fie did. through the help and urging of his friends, accept a Fellowship in the Royal Society, and he finally ac­cepted a pension, though this precipitated the kind of publicity he had sought so hard to avoid all his life.

Today his laws of electrolysis are part of every mod­ern textbook in chemistry and physics, and the unit of electric capacity, the Farad, was named for him.

Book Cover with the Image of Dr. Salk

The Polio Man: The Story of Dr. Jonas Salk by John Rowland

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“Absorbing book . . . Young teenagers who read it will come away with a profound respect for the modest doctor.”—Kansas City Star

“Inspiring biography . . . conveys to the reader the personal rewards of a life devoted to science.”—Booklist

“Includes good background history of early-polio epidemics, theories, and work still in progress . . . approach is authoritative and objective.”—Library Journal

“He read everything he could lay his hand on,” a teacher of young Jonas recalled—and indeed Dr. Salk’s interest in great medical problems goes back to his student days in New York City. Even then he was fascinated by the mysterious virus and its role ill infantile paralysis.

On April 12, 1955, it was announced to the world that Dr. Jonas Salk had successfully tested a polio vaccine. A true man of Science, Dr. Salk had not minded the long hours of hard work in the laboratory which led to that exciting day, because he believed in the importance of his goal. By 1956 over 50 million people had been vaccinated and Dr. Salk’s fame had spread everywhere— to England, Poland, Hungary, Israel.

Dr. Salk is a great scientist but he is also a great humanitarian and fame has not lessened by his desire to serve mankind and carry on his struggle against disease. Readers who have yet to choose their life’s goal will find Dr. Salk’s story a challenge and an inspiration.