Press Release


Laura Czaja
Public Relations Manager

The Invisible Allies and Enemies that Live Among Us, How the World Depends on Bacteria

New book from FT Press Science discusses the role and history of bacteria in our lives

July 21, 2010 (New York, NY) – Bacteria thrive on every surface of the earth. They recycle the Earth’s elements, create nutrition, clean up wastes, regulate the climate, and make water drinkable. They are invisible, mysterious, and essential organisms. And yet, we fear bacteria. Their food-poisoning capabilities, spreading of infectious diseases, indestructibility over centuries, and omnipresence throughout our planet lead us to overlook the benefits of bacteria and focus on the damage they cause.

Author and microbiologist Anne Maczulak seeks to improve the public image of bacteria. In her new book, Allies and Enemies, she tells the story of the partnership between humans and bacteria. Though they sometimes cause us harm and can even be deadly, we simply cannot live without these microbes.

Allies and Enemies: How the World Depends on Bacteria (FT Press Science, ISBN-13: 9780137015467, $24.99, hardcover, 224 pages, August 2010) offers a new perspective on Earth’s oldest creatures. Maczulak presents bacteria as elegant and smart—they live in some of the harshest conditions on the planet, reproduce self-sufficiently, and have never been eradicated neither by chemical nor antibiotic. In an easy-to-read discourse, she explains the inner workings of bacteria and their influence in history and popular culture.

“By understanding the wide variety of Earth’s bacteria,” says Maczulak, “people can put some of their fears aside and appreciate the vital contributions of these microbes.”

Readers will explore the intricacies of bacteria and how they’ve shaped the world we live in today. Some of the topics include:

  • Why the World Needs Bacteria: How bacteria keep you alive, and how to keep them from killing you
  • Bacteria in History: The journey from ancient hygiene practices, to the plague, pathogens, and the age of microbiology
  • Humans Defeat Germs! But not for long: The development of antibiotic drugs, and the rise of antibiotic-resistance
  • Bacteria in Popular Culture: Discover the Black Plague’s influence on art, bacterial diseases in literature, and what the decomposition of art tells us about bacteria
  • The Invisible Universe: The stunning hidden relationships between bacteria and the rest of nature

Allies and Enemies investigates how bacteria work, how they evolved, and why they are the world’s most important form of life. Humans’ relationship with bacteria is a fascinating one, described by Anne Maczulak in nontechnical terms to educate and excite readers of all kinds. “The bacterial universe may at first glance seem invisible. But as you get to know the bacteria that influence your life each day, they become easier to see,” writes Maczulak.

Click on the link below to view this book on and read an excerpt:

To request an excerpt or review copy of Allies and Enemies, or request an interview with the author, please contact Laura Czaja at 212-641-6627 or

About the Author
Anne Maczulak (Novato, CA) is a Ph.D. microbiologist who has worked and consulted on water quality/sewage, disinfectants, and biotechnology, including flu vaccine testing. She has written several books for Facts on File, as well as an encyclopedia of microbiology for younger readers, and one trade book, The Five-Second Rule and Other Myths about Germs. She is a regular guest on Sirius/XM’s Martha Stewart Living Radio, where she takes callers’ questions on germs. Maczulak provides independent consulting services to small and growing companies, academic research laboratories, and analytical labs through her company, Acorn GLP Consulting, (

About FT Press Science
The life sciences revolution is transforming our world as profoundly as the industrial and information revolutions did in the last two centuries. FT Press Science is committed to publishing scientific and health related books that discuss issues sometimes deemed controversial, ranging from genetics to global warming. FT Press Science captures the excitement and promise of the new life sciences, bringing breakthrough knowledge to every professional and interested citizen. We publish tomorrow’s indispensable work in genetics, evolution, neuroscience, medicine, biotech, environmental science, and emerging scientific fields. We hope to help you make sense of the future, so you can live it, profit from it, and lead it.

About Pearson
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, is home to such respected brand as FT Press (, as well as Addison-Wesley Professional, Cisco Press, Exam Cram, IBM Press, Prentice Hall Professional, Que, and Sams Publishing, which have as their online publishing arm, InformIT (—The Trusted Technology Learning Source. Pearson is also co-founder, with O'Reilly Media Inc., of Safari Books Online (, the premier on-demand technology content library providing thousands of expert reference materials through a single point of contact, including expert technology, creative and design, industry and management resources in video, audio and written formats. Pearson's other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, go to

Allies and Enemies: How the World Depends on Bacteria
Anne Maczulak
August 2010
ISBN-13: 9780137015467