by L. Gonick & M. Wheelis 1983 revised 1991 - Harper Perennial
A really fun explanation of some basic concepts in genetics/biology using cartoons.
by J. Van Cleave 1990 - John Wiley & Sons
Great for adolescents.
by L. Garrett - Farrar, Strauss & Giroux / New York
A very sophisticated and very well written account of various 20th century epidemics...from a social, political AND scientific standpoint. Reads like a novel. While Garrett is extremely well versed in public health issues (about 100 pages of the book are REFERENCES), she does make some simple mistakes when it comes to science. Still highly recommended. Don't be put off by 600 pages...it is easy to read, as well as pick up and put down. Laurie Garrett has also more recently written Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health - 2001, which is also quite long, fascinating and full of scary facts about diseases and our efforts to fight them.
by Matt Ridley 2000 - HarperCollins
New York Times Bestseller. I can't rave about this book enough. Ridley explores all of the issues surrounding the human genome project (and biology in the 21st century, for that matter, as it relates to everyone, not just scientists). Not overly technical, the book outlines what is fascinating about our DNA by picking a gene on each chromosome and relating it to current (and sometimes controversial) issues in biology. Sociology, politics, prehistory, sexuality, and more...all weaved into the story. Now also available in an abridged version for those of you with less time.
by Tracy Kidder (2003)
Pulitzer Prize winner. It's fascinating (full of well explained stuff
on modern problems with disease) as well as inspirational. Recommended by J.N.
by Madeline Drexler 2002 - Penguin Books
Pretty well written, VERY well researched...this is a very good overview of current and future health threats (west nile virus, food poisoning, bioterrorism, antibiotic resistance and more)
by Jennifer Lee Carrell - E. P. Dutton, publishers (2003)
Fictional, but well researched and based on real events in Europe during the 18th century. Entertaining and educational!
by Richard Preston - Fawcett books, publishers (2003 / 1995)
by Mark Olshaker (Author), C.J. Peters - Anchor Books/Doubleday;
by Stuart B., MD Levy - Perseus Publishing (2002)
Amazon.com has an excellent review from the New England Journal of Medicine. Look here ---> (see it)