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Virology: Book summary and reviews of Virology by Joseph Osmundson

Virology

Essays for the Living, the Dead, and the Small Things in Between

by Joseph Osmundson

Virology by Joseph Osmundson X
Virology by Joseph Osmundson
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  • Published Jun 2022
    336 pages
    Genre: Essays

    Paperback Original.
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Book Summary

A leading microbiologist tackles the scientific and sociopolitical impact of viruses in twelve striking essays.

Invisible in the food we eat, the people we kiss, and inside our own bodies, viruses flourish―with the power to shape not only our health, but our social, political, and economic systems. Drawing on his expertise in microbiology, Joseph Osmundson brings readers under the microscope to understand the structure and mechanics of viruses and to examine how viruses like HIV and COVID-19 have redefined daily life.

Osmundson's buoyant prose builds on the work of the activists and thinkers at the forefront of the HIV/AIDS crisis and critical scholars like José Esteban Munoz to navigate the intricacies of risk reduction, draw parallels between queer theory and hard science, and define what it really means to "go viral." This dazzling multidisciplinary collection offers novel insights on illness, sex, and collective responsibility. Virology is a critical warning, a necessary reflection, and a call for a better future.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Microbiologist Osmundson probes the relationship between humans and viruses in this superb essay collection...Original and bubbling with curiosity, this is a masterful achievement." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Osmundson is a literary essayist—his models and polestars are writers like Joan Didion, Susan Sontag, and Eula Biss, though he also thoughtfully critiques their work—as well as a cleareyed science writer. His ability to explicate queer theory and epidemiology allows him to make thoughtful connections between the pandemic and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s...A welcome, well-informed, queer-positive study of the blind spots a pandemic reveals." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Inquisitive, bold, and lyrical, Virology offers a captivating and very queer look at our present moment through the lens of someone who knows more than most of us about the science behind our shared catastrophe." - Melissa Febos, author of Girlhood

"Joe Osmundson's Virology is an incisive look at our relationship to earth's most plentiful life form ― how we live with viruses and how viruses live in and through us. But more than this, it is a compelling examination of the tension between avoidance and exposure, safety and risk, preservation of the self and openness to evolution and change. This book is a potent medicine for our times." - Lacy M. Johnson, author of The Reckonings

"Joseph Osmundson's Virology made me gay for viruses. Seriously. Virology is a tour de force that uses queer theory to teach us about the science of viruses. Along the way, we are forced to reckon with the reality that far from being villainous little creatures, viruses are actually fascinating almost-life forms. Virology brilliantly revises the frameworks we use to talk about life in a world filled with viruses and reminds us that our relationship with science and scientific phenomena is always social." - Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, author of The Disordered Cosmos

This information about Virology was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Joseph Osmundson

Joseph Osmundson is a professor of microbiology at New York University. His work has been published in leading biological journals including Cell and PNAS and in the Village Voice, Gawker, the Feminist Wire, and elsewhere. He lives and works in New York City.

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