Paul de Kruif



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Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif was first published in 1926 by Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York. It dramatically recounts the breakthrough discoveries of the fundamental elements of bacteriology. It features exciting profiles of Antony Leeuwenhoek, Lazzaro Spallanzani, Louis Pasteur, Robert Koch, Émile Roux, Emil Behring, Élie Metchnikoff, Theobald Smith, David Bruce, Ronald Ross, Battista Grassi, Walter Reed, and Paul Ehrlich. Their development of germ theory and its scientific proofs led to the first effective treatments for human diseases like anthrax, rabies, diptheria, malaria, sleeping sickness, syphilis, and yellow fever. They also made discoveries that saved the dairy, wine, beer, silk, and cattle industries. These determined experimenters proved time and again that tiny living beings only seen by microscope can have huge impacts on human life, and they emphatically demonstrated the value of science for modern civilization. A best seller in its time, the work is an enduring classic that has inspired many scientific careers.

Paul de Kruif (1890–1971) was an American microbiologist and World War I veteran who turned to writing after his dismissal from the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research because of his controversial opinions on current medical practice published in a book of essays. Among his other works, he also assisted Sinclair Lewis with the background of science for the novel Arrowsmith (1925).

doi: 10.32873/unl.dc.zea.1503



Publication Date



Zea Books


Lincoln, Nebraska


germs, bacteriology, science history, microbes


Bacteriology | Diseases | Medical Sciences | Microbiology


First published 1926. Public domain as of 2022.

Microbe Hunters