The Beautiful Cure, by biologist Daniel Davis, focuses on the science of immunology itself, taking us through the evolution of the discipline and the stories behind key advances in the field. Though evincing a scientist’s disdain of emotion,...he conveys a visceral appreciation for how messy, and how human, medical science can be ... In Mr. Graeber’s hands, the evolution of immuno-oncology is both captivating and heartbreaking. Exotic-sounding medicines take a turn in the spotlight before slinking off the stage, unable to live up to expectations. We are immersed in the stories of the brave, desperate patients who try emerging therapies: Sometimes they are cured, often they are not. We can’t fail to see ourselves, our friends and our families in these stories.
...a good writer can make any subject thrilling. Davis is a very good writer, and my historical animosity – possibly fear – of engaging with immunology was swept away by his assured, unpretentious style. He is a consummate storyteller ... We should all pay more attention to understanding the barricades that evolution has provided us with, that we have learned to train, because this war is endless. The Beautiful Cure is a worthy guide.
Davis, a professor of immunology at Manchester University, provides health-conscious readers with a broad overview of his specialty. His book concentrates on two main tasks: sharing scientific facts about how the immune system works, and celebrating the heroes and rebels of immunology and their breakthroughs, from Edward Jenner’s 1796 development of a smallpox vaccine to Charles Janeway’s 1989 theory of how the immune response is triggered ... A modern equivalent of Paul de Kruif’s 1926 classic, Microbe Hunters, Davis’s work is concise and illuminating.