Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"A History of Modern Immunology" by Zoltan Nagy

Re-published with modifications.

I came across this book by chance. It's title caught my attention.  It is relatively new book. The author, Zoltan Nagy, is not well known to current generation of immunologists, including myself. But he had quite interesting science career, including a stint at the prestigious Basel Institute of Immunology (closed down in early 2000s). 

In general, I like reading history, both non-fictional or fictional. As title suggests this book is about history of modern immunology. As the author says book's focus is the last 25 years of 20th century (1975-2000). In the author's opinion that major questions of immunology were raised and answered during this period. I am not sure about it.

Only reason I have decided to read this book was the fact that the author appeared to be a former member of famous Basel Institute of Immunology. In the introduction, the author mentioned that he will provide personal accounts and observations about immunological discoveries during that period and people who were involved in those discoveries.

Honestly, even though the author appears to have had a distinguished immunologist's career, I never heard about him (he probably retired by the time I entered immunology and became avid reader of scientific articles), though I could recognize about 95% of scientists mentioned in the book. 

One thing is obvious: famous people rarely have time writing history. They are busy making history.

Book is filled with information which are boring for practicing Immunologists and completely alien to non-immunologists.

To be fair to the author, the book has several personal accounts. But absolute majority of those accounts are so limited and generic (and almost never critical) that they failed to make this book useful or enjoyable to anyone for any stretch of imagination. 

David Usharauli        

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