“One of those rare nonfiction books that transcends the genre. … Extraordinary.” —Douglas Preston
Magnificently reported and soulfully crafted, An Elegant Defense is an epic, first-of-its-kind exploration of the human immune system and the secrets of health, by the Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Timesjournalist
A terminal cancer patient rises from the grave. A medical marvel defies HIV. Two women with autoimmunity discover their own bodies have turned against them. Matt Richtel’s An Elegant Defense uniquely entwines these intimate stories with science’s centuries-long quest to unlock the mysteries of sickness and health, and illuminates the immune system as never before.
The immune system is our body’s essential defense network, a guardian vigilantly fighting illness, healing wounds, maintaining order and balance, and keeping us alive. Its legion of microscopic foot soldiers—from T cells to “natural killers”—patrols our body, linked by a nearly instantaneous communications grid. It has been honed by evolution over millennia to face an almost infinite array of threats.