Immune: A Journey into the Mysterious System That Keeps You Alive | Philipp Dettmer
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A gorgeously illustrated deep dive into the immune system that will forever change how you think about your body, from the creator of the popular science YouTube channel Kurzgesagt—In a Nutshell
“Through wonderful analogies and a genius for clarifying complex ideas, Immune is a truly brilliant introduction to the human body’s vast system for fighting infections and other threats.”—John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars
You wake up and feel a tickle in your throat. Your head hurts. You’re mildly annoyed as you get the kids ready for school and dress for work yourself. Meanwhile, an epic war is being fought, just below your skin. Millions are fighting and dying for you to be able to complain as you head out the door.
But most of us never really stop to ask: What even is our immune system?
Second only to the human brain in its complexity, it is one of the oldest and most critical facets of life on Earth. Without it, you would die within days. In Immune, Philipp Dettmer, the brains behind the most popular science channel on YouTube, takes readers on a journey through the fortress of the human body and its defenses. There is a constant battle of staggering scale raging within us, full of stories of invasion, strategy, defeat, and noble self-sacrifice. In fact, in the time you’ve been reading this, your immune system has probably identified and eradicated a cancer cell that started to grow in your body.
Each chapter delves into an element of the immune system, including defenses like antibodies and inflammation as well as threats like bacteria, allergies, and cancer, as Dettmer reveals why boosting your immune system is actually nonsense, how parasites sneak their way past your body’s defenses, how viruses work, and what goes on in your wounds when you cut yourself.
Enlivened by engaging full-color graphics and immersive descriptions, Immune turns one of the most intricate, interconnected, and confusing subjects—immunology—into a gripping adventure through an astonishing alien landscape. Immune is a vital and remarkably fun crash course in what is arguably, and increasingly, the most important system in the body.
“Immune is science communication at its most lucid and exhilarating, a tour de force of demystification. Dettmer maintains an intimate relationship with the reader while revealing the Homeric dramas that routinely unfold within us. It has a vivid clarity that never comes at the expense of the science—or the wonder, as if an entire scientific field had been translated into human.”—Ann Druyan, author of Cosmos: Possible Worlds
“Philipp Dettmer has a unique skill to show us the beauty and complexity of our world as it is revealed through a scientific understanding of it. In Immune he takes us on a tour through our own body and allows us to see and understand how our immune system actually works. A beautiful book about a complex system that our life depends on.”—Max Roser, founder of Our World in Data
“Immune reads like it’s a riveting sci-fi novel, as Philipp Dettmer takes you on a journey into the body for an up-close look at the armies of expert warriors, rogue gladiators, and stealthy detectives that protect you in the daily war against trillions of ruthless microbe enemies. By the end of the book, I understood my entire body far better than I ever had before. Immune is a delightful treat for the curious.”—Tim Urban, creator of Wait But Why
“Bringing both insight and humor to an important and relevant topic, Dettmer’s book is essential reading, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”—Library Journal
About the Author
Philipp Dettmer is the founder and head writer of Kurzgesagt, one of the largest science channels on YouTube with over fourteen million subscribers and one billion views. After dropping out of high school at age fifteen, Dettmer met a remarkable teacher who inspired in him a passion for learning and understanding the world. He went on to study history and information design with a focus on infographics. Dettmer started Kurzgesagt as a passion project to explain complicated ideas from a holistic perspective. When the channel took off, Dettmer dedicated himself full-time to making difficult ideas engaging and accessible.