This is the only book that tells both sides of the story of germs: that they are critically important for our health and that the dangers of emerging pathogens continue to wreak havoc in our bodies and around the world. With straight-forward and engaging writing, infectious diseases physician Phillip Peterson surveys how our understanding of viruses has changed throughout history, from early plagues and pandemics to more recent outbreaks like HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and the Zika virus. Microbes also takes on contemporary issues like the importance of vaccinations in the face of the growing anti-vaxxer movement, as well as the rise of cutting-edge health treatments like fecal transplants. Peterson relays his first-hand experience dealing with an unprecedented emergence of new microbial threats. Yet at the same time he has witnessed the astounding recent discoveries of the crucial role of the microbes that colonize our body surfaces in human health. Microbes explains for general readers where these germs came from, what they do to and for us, and what can be done to stop the bad actors and foster the benefactors.