'Great Books' List

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Compiled from messages to the AP Biology Electronic Discussion Group, this is a collection of "biological" books for pleasure reading, for background knowledge, and for student assignments. Please contact AP Central to add titless or to help briefly annotate selections.

Copyright dates courtesy of Amazon.com. Fiction is marked with an (F) and nonfiction with an (NF).

  • Agosta, William C. | Chemical Communication: The Language of Pheromones (1992) (NF)
    Pheromones are used in a variety of animals in reproduction, territory marking, signaling, and other forms of communication.

  • Agosta, William C. | Bombardier Beetles and Fever Trees: A Close-Up Look at Chemical Warfare and Signals in Animals and Plants (1997) (NF)
    A book with excellent explanations of the use of chemicals in living organisms.

  • Agosta, William C. | Thieves, Deceivers, and Killers: Tales of Chemistry in Nature (2002) (NF)
    A collection of stories woven together with the thread of chemistry—antibiotics, enzymes in extremophiles, intricate chemical communication in insects, etc.

  • Alvarez, Walter | T-Rex and the Crater of Doom (1998) (NF) (1999) (NF)
    A description of the evidence that links the production of the Chicxulub Crater in Mexico by an asteroid and the extinction of the dinosaurs.

  • Andrews, Lori B. | The Clone Age: Adventures in the New World of Reproductive Technology (1999) (NF)
    Reproductive technology and the law associated with it for the layperson.

  • Angier, Natalie | The Beauty of the Beastly (1996) (NF)
    A book of essays about organisms on which we don't normally dwell—divided into seven chapters entitled "Loving," "Slithering," "Dancing," "Dying," "Adapting," "Healing," and "Creating."

  • Agosta, William C. | Thieves, Deceivers, and Killers: Tales of Chemistry in Nature (2002) (NF)
    A collection of stories woven together with the thread of chemistry—antibiotics, enzymes in extremophiles, intricate chemical communication in insects, etc.

  • Angier, Natalie | Natural Obsessions: Striving to Unlock the Deepest Secrets of the Cancer Cell (1999) (NF)
    The work of young scientists in the areas of molecular genetics and the genetics of cancer.

  • Anthony, Piers | Tatham Mound (1991) (F)
    A native American story woven around skeletons unearthed in a mound discovered on a Boy Scout camp in Florida.

  • Asimov, Isaac | Wellsprings of Life (1960) (F)
    The middle book of a set of three biochemistry books, this one deals with origin of life, molecules (including DNA), spontaneous generation, and evolution.

  • Asimov, Isaac | Fantastic Voyage (1966) (F)
    A medical team is miniaturized and injected into a VIP's bloodstream to destroy a clot that threatens his life.

  • Auel, Jean | The Clan of the Cave Bear (1983), The Valley of the Horses (1983), The Mammoth Hunters (1986), The Plains of Passage (1993), Shelters of Stone (2003) (F)
    A story of a Cro-Magnon woman raised by Neanderthals who must learn the ways of others like her when she is expelled from the Neanderthal community.

  • Bakker, Robert T. | The Dinosaur Heresies: New Theories Unlocking the Mystery of the Dinosaurs and Their Extinction (1986) (NF)
    Support for Bakker's controversial view of dinosaurs as active, warm-blooded, intelligent beings.

  • Bear, Greg | Darwin's Radio (1999) (F)
    Something that has slept in our genes for millions of years is waking up and accelerating human evolution.

  • Benchley, Peter | Beast (1993) (F)
    A giant squid terrorizes Bermuda.

  • Benchley, Peter | White Shark (1996) (F)
    Nazis fashion a creature from a man.

  • Benson, Ann | Plague Tales (1997) (F)
    The story of two plagues that are linked despite the plagues being separated by hundreds of years.

  • Benson, Ann | The Burning Road (1999) (F)
    The sequel to Plague Tales.

  • Bernstein, Leonard, Alan Winkler, and Linda Zierdt-Warsha | Multicultural Women of Science (paperback 1996) (NF)
    A compilation of 37 hands-on activities and experiments that accompany descriptions of the work of female scientists from around the world.

  • Bodanis, David | The Secret House: 24 Hours in the Strange and Unexpected World in Which We Spend Our Nights and Days (1986) (NF)
    Everything we always wanted to know (or did not want to know) about the microscopic organisms that live on and around us.

  • Braver, Gary | Elixir (paperback 2001) (F)
    A scientist stumbles onto a "fountain-of-youth" drug.

  • Browne, Janet | The Power of Place (2002) (NF)
    Second part of the Darwin biography begins with the arrival of letters from Wallace and follows through to his death.

  • Browne, Janet | Charles Darwin: Voyaging (1995) (NF)
    Traces the interesting life of Darwin from birth to 1858 just before his publishing of Origin of Species.

  • Bronowski, Jacob | Science and Human Values (1999) (NF)
    Thought-provoking essays on science as an integral part of our culture.

  • Bybee, Rodger W. editor | NSTA:Evolution in Perspective: The Science Teacher's Compendium (2004) (NF)
    Twelve different articles concerning a teacher's role in presenting and nurturing an understanding of the theory of evolution as an ongoing scientific endeavor. (see full review at NSTA Publications site)

  • Bryson, Bill | A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003) (NF)
    Reports how humans figured out major concepts in science, from the age of the universe to continental drift to how cells work, complete with interesting dialogue from the world's famous truth seekers.

  • Cannell, Stephen J. | The Devil's Workshop (1999) (F)
    Prions are used as a bioweapons agent in this story by the man who directed The Rockford Files, The A-Team, and The Commish.

  • Card, Orson Scott | Xenocide (1999) (F)
    The story of an attempt to control a highly adaptive virus on planet Lusitania.

  • Carroll, Sean | Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and The Making of the Animal Kingdom (2005) (NF)
    A look at developmental biology and its relationship to evolution; documentation of how genes that regulate embryonic development have "evolved", creating new body patterns and better adaptations for survival.

  • Carson, Rachel | The Sea Around Us (1951) (NF)
    Recommendations regarding the care of the oceans that are still timely more than 50 years later.

  • Carson, Rachel | Silent Spring (1962) (NF)
    Carson's classic expose of poisons in the environment and how they accumulate in the tissues of animals.

  • Case, John | The First Horseman (2001) (F)
    The influenza epidemic from 1918 may be released again by a bioterrorist.

  • Case, John | The Genesis Code (2001) (F)
    Women are being inseminated with cell samples containing DNA from relics associated with Christ.

  • Close, William T. | Ebola: Through the Eyes of the People (paperback 2001) (NF)
    A documentary novel written by Glenn Close's father that chronicles the first emergence ofEbola in a Catholic mission in Zaire.

  • Colborn, Theo, et al. | Our Stolen Future (1997) (NF)
    The impact that synthetic chemicals in the environment have on human reproduction,development, and disease.

  • Cook, Robin | Terminal (1993) (F)
    A Harvard medical student investigates a clinic with a 100 percent cure rate for a rare cancer.

  • Cook, Robin | Acceptable Risk (1995) (F)
    An interesting link between antidepressant drugs and the Salem witch trials.

  • Cook Robin | Chromosome 6 (1997) (F)
    Genetic research, primate development, and cloning for transplantation.

  • Cook, Robin | Toxin (2001) (F)
    An investigation of the beef-packaging and slaughterhouse industries and Eco 0157 infections.

  • Cornwell, Patricia | Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed (2002) (NF)
    Cornwell uses current forensic techniques to amass evidence indicating that Walter Sickert, a well-known London artist, was Jack the Ripper.

  • Cousins, Norman | Head First: The Biology of Hope and the Healing Power of the Human Spirit (1990) (NF)
    The author's own account of the use of humor therapy to overcome cancer.

  • Crichton, Michael | The Andromeda Strain (1969) (F)
    A satellite returns from space with an unknown pathogenic "organism."

  • Crichton, Michael | Five Patients: The Hospital Explained (1970) (NF)
    The positives and negatives of the health care system seen through the lens of five actual case studies.

  • Crichton, Michael | Jurassic Park (1990) (F)
    A new type of theme park complete with cloned dinosaurs goes awry.

  • Crichton, Michael | Congo (1994) (F)
    An investigation of a research team attacked by an "unknown" species.

  • Crichton, Michael | Timeline (1999) (F)
    Time travel to the medieval past goes awry.

  • Darnton, John | The Experiment (1999) (F)
    A story of cloning, genetic disease, and ethical issues.

  • Darnton, John | Neanderthal (2001) (F)
    A group of Neanderthals is found in the present.

  • Darwin, Charles | Origin of Species (1859) (NF)
    Darwin's original work that presented natural selection as the mechanism for evolution.

  • Davidson, Osha G. | The Enchanted Braid: Coming to Terms with Nature on the Coral Reef (1998) (NF)
    Evaluation of the condition of Earth's coral reefs reveals that 10 percent are beyond help, and another 30 percent are in serious danger.

  • Dawkins, Marian Stamp | Though Our Eyes Only? The Search for Animal Consciousness (1993) (NF)
    An account of what is currently known about animal consciousness.

  • Dawkins, Richard | The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution (2005) (NF)
    Moving backwards in time, the evolution of humans and many other organisms is traced with fossils, DNA, and comparative anatomy to "the beginnings". ("Good graphics and photographs")

  • Dawkins, Richard | The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design (1986) (NF)
    A discussion that supports Darwinism as an explanation of our existence to counter intelligent design supporters.

  • Dawkins, Richard | The Selfish Gene, 2nd ed. (1989) (NF)
    Dawkins makes the case that our genes maintain us in order to make more genes.

  • Dawkins, Richard | River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995) (NF)
    Looks at genetic and mitochondrial evidence for evolution and takes "gene's eye view" of natural selection.

  • Dethier, Vincent | To Know a Fly (1989) (NF)
    Cartoons and humor relate stories of curiosity and the excitement of the scientific method.

  • Diamond, Jared M. | The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal (1992) (NF)
    Diamond takes a look at human evolution to determine how we became more than a chimpanzee.

  • Diamond, Jared M. | Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (1997) (NF)
    An investigation into human nature, history, and politics to explain how Europe conquered the New World, Africa, and Asia.

  • Dillard, Annie | Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1998), Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters (1983) (NF)
    Collections of essays on Dillard's observations of nature.

  • Dixon, Bernard, ed. | From Creation to Chaos: Classic Writing in Science (1989) (NF)
    A collection of writings that depict the major scientific investigations of the last 150 years.

  • Djerassi, Carl | Cantor's Dilemma (1989) (F)
    Two scientists who win the Nobel Prize for cancer research are suspected of falsifying data.

  • Dorris, Michael | The Broken Cord: A Family's Ongoing Struggle with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (1989) (NF)
    The story of the author's adoption a young Native American boy who suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome.

  • Doyle, Rodger P. | The Medical Wars (1983) (NF)
    Disease and its causes.

  • Dugatkin, Lee Alan | Cheating Monkeys and Citizen Bees: The Nature of Cooperation in Animals and Humans (1999) (NF)
    An explanation for why animals help each other.

  • Durden, Kent | Gifts of an Eagle (1972) (NF)
    The author's account of rescuing a Golden Eagle nestling.

  • Eckert, Allan W. | The Great Auk (1963) (F)
    A fictional but believable story about how humans contribute to the extinction of a species.

  • Eckert, Allan W. | The Silent Sky: The Incredible Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon (1983) (NF)
    Eckert delivers a novel wrapped around man's role of the extinction of the passenger pigeon.

  • Ehrlich, Paul | The Population Bomb (1976) (NF)
    A treatment of the population explosion without consideration of the possibility of technological developments.

  • Eiseley, Loren | The Immense Journey (1957) (NF)
    A collection of essays on evolution from an anthropologist's viewpoint.

  • Ellis, Mel, et al. | The Land, Always the Land (1998) (NF)
    Essays on nature—one chapter for each month of the year.

  • Feynman, Richard P. | "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" Adventures of a Curious Character (1999) (NF)
    A book of anecdotes about the Nobel-prize winner's life that a layman can understand and that entertains while it educates.

  • Fossey, Dian Gorillas in the Mist (1983) (NF)
    Fossey's own story of working with gorillas in the remote African rain forest.

  • Frank-Kamenetskii, Maxim D. | Unraveling DNA: The Most Important Molecule of Life (1997) (NF)
    What was known about DNA and the field of molecular genetics as of 1996.

  • Franklin, Jon | Molecules of the Mind: The Brave New Science of Molecular Psychology (1987) (NF)
    The link between chemical imbalances in the brain and mental illness.

  • Gallo, Robert | Virus Hunting: AIDS, Cancer, and the Human Retrovirus: A Story of Scientific Discovery (1991) (NF)
    A defense against the charges of unethical behavior that were made during Gallo's discovery of the AIDS virus.

  • Garrett, Laurie | The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance (1995) (NF)
    Garrett's dissertation on emerging and reemerging diseases.

  • Gear, Kathleen, and W. Michael | People of the Wolf (1994), People of the Fire (1992), People of the Earth (1994) (F)
    A husband-and-wife anthropologist team writes about native North Americans before written history.

  • Goodall, Jane | In the Shadow of Man (1983) (NF)
    Goodall's story of her work with chimpanzees.

  • Goodall, Jane | Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe (1990) (NF)
    The sequel to In the Shadow of Man.

  • Goodall, Jane | Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey (1999) (NF)
    An extension of Goodall's first book with more emphasis on her philosophy.

  • Gould, Stephen Jay | Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History (1977), The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History (1980), Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes (1983), The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History (1985), Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History (1991), Wonderful Life: The Burgess of Shale and the Nature of History (1998), The Mismeasure of Man (1999) (NF)
    Essays on evolution and natural history.

  • Grace, Eric S. | Biotechnology Unzipped: Promise and Realities (1997) (NF)
    Provides the basics about DNA and an explanation of genetic engineering.

  • Hagen, Joel, Douglas Allchin, and Fred Singer | Doing Biology (1997) (NF)
    Documents the discovery of the cause of beriberi, the process of chemiosmosis, the details of Krebs cycle, and much more.

  • Hamer, Dean | Living with Our Genes: Why They Matter More Than You Think (1998) (NF)
    A look at the possible connections between our genes and our personalities, sexual orientation, high-risk behavior, etc.

  • Heersink, Mary | E. coli 0157: The True Story of a Mother's Battle with a Killer Microbe (1996) (NF)
    A mother writes about the bacterial infection that nearly killed her son after he ingested improperly cooked hamburger on a scout trip.

  • Heinrich, Bernd | Ravens in Winter (1989) (NF)
    The author's observations of the behavior of ravens over several Maine winters.

  • Heiser, Charles Bixler | Of Plants and People (1992) (NF)
    A collection of essays on ethnobotany.

  • Henig, Robin | A Dancing Matrix: Voyages Along the Viral Frontier (1993) (NF)
    A slightly dated treatment of emerging viruses and how our behavior predisposes us to viral epidemics.

  • Henig, Robin | The Monk in the Garden: The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel, the Father of Genetics (2000) (NF)
    The story of Mendel and the three scientists who later rediscovered his work.

  • Hoover, Helen | Gift of the Deer (1966) (NF)
    The story of a family's experiences with a whitetail deer family that visits them for several years.

  • Hoover, Thomas | Life Blood (paperback 2000) (F)
    A clinic in the tropics is recruiting young women for fertility experiments to produce children "sold" through adoption agencies.

  • Horner, John | Digging Dinosaurs: The Search That Unraveled the Mystery of Baby Dinosaurs (1999) (NF)
    A look at dinosaur fossils and the people who look for them.

  • Hoyle, Fred | The Nature of the Universe (1960) (NF)
    A collection of radio talks on astronomy done by the author, a famous British astronomer, in the 1950s.

  • Huxley, Aldous | Brave New World (1932) (F)
    A provocative piece of futuristic science fiction.

  • Johanson, Donald | Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind (1981) (NF)
    A history of paleoanthropology precedes a description of finding and analyzing Lucy.

  • Jones, Steve | Darwin's Ghost (2000) (NF)
    Wonderful and easy to read, updated version of Origin of Species using Darwin's exact table of contents (and many of Darwin's original words) but replacing the 1800s examples with modern ones that support Origin's arguments concerning natural selection.

  • Karlen, Arno | Napoleon's Glands and Other Ventures in Biohistory (1984) (NF)
    A discussion of how disease has affected human history.

  • Keller, Evelyn Fox | A Feeling for the Organism: The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock (paperback 1984) (NF)
    A biography of Nobel-prize-winner McClintock, whose work on transposable genes was decades before its time.

  • Kingsolver, Barbara | The Poisonwood Bible (1999) (F)
    A story told through the voices of four daughters of a Baptist missionary to the Congo.

  • Kingsolver, Barbara | Prodigal Summer (2000) (F)
    Nature themes run throughout the telling of three stories set in Appalachia.

  • Kolata, Gina | Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic (2001) (NF)
    Story of how the flu virus killed 40 million people at the end of World War I, researching survivors' stories and analyzing the causes of this terrible epidemic and its legacy.

  • Koontz, Dean | Seize the Night (1998), Fear Nothing (1998) (F)
    The main character is forced to do his detective work at night because he has xeroderma pigmentosa, a genetic disease that makes him unable to repair genetic damage that results from exposure to ultraviolet light.

  • Krakauer, Jon | Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster (1997) (NF)
    Krakauer was part of the ill-fated Mount Everest expedition that resulted in nine deaths.

  • Kyle, Stephen | Beyond Recall (2000) (F)
    A virus is released on the world by a bioterrorist.

  • Lax, Eric | The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat: The Story of the Penicillin Miracle (2004) (NF)
    The true story about the development of the drug penicillin after its discovery by Alexander Fleming. ("an interesting but hard read")

  • Leakey, Richard, and Roger Lewin | The Sixth Extinction: Biodiversity and Its Survival (1996) (NF)
    There is uncertainty about the causes of the first five mass extinctions, but man is the culprit of the present sixth mass extinction of species.

  • LeGuin, Ursula | The Left Hand of Darkness (1999) (F)
    The story of an envoy from Earth who goes to another planet to establish a relationship between the two planets.

  • Leopold, Aldo | Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There (1949) (NF)
    A series of essays on the plants and animals associated with the author's Wisconsin farm.

  • Leroi, Armand Marie | Mutants: On Genetic Variety and The Human Body (2003) (NF)
    Relates variability to human embryology and growth; discusses race and strange genetic conditions such as those of the ostrich-footed people and conjoined twins.

  • Levay, Simon | The Sexual Brain (1993) (NF)
    A discussion of current knowledge about sex and the brain.

  • Levi-Montalcini, Rita | In Praise of Imperfection (1988) (NF)
    Autobiography of one of two scientists who received the Nobel prize in 1984 for isolating a nerve growth factor in mice.

  • Lorenz, Konrad | King Solomon's Ring (1952) (NF)
    A view of animal behavior through the eyes of the "father of ethology."

  • Lynch, Patrick | Carriers (1996) (F)
    An organism that is one hundred times more contagious than Ebola is hatching in the rainforest.

  • Lynch, Patrick | Omega (1997) (F)
    Superbugs (bacteria resistant to all known antibiotics) are on the loose in Los Angeles, and only a superantibiotic can control them.

  • Lyons, Jeff | Altered Fates: Gene Therapy and Retooling of Human Life (1995) (NF)
    A historical treatment of the potential of and issues associated with gene therapy.

  • Lyons, Jeff | Playing God in the Nursery (1985) (NF)
    A cautionary discussion about the use of extreme efforts to save premature and handicapped babies.

  • Maddox, Brenda | Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA (2003) (NF)
    A very personal look at a brilliant scientist who never got the credit she deserved for her X-ray crystallographs of DNA that helped Watson and Crick solve the mystery of the double helix.

  • Maples, William | Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The Strange and Fascinating Cases of a Forensic Pathologist (1994) (NF)
    Dr. Maples tells the stories of his strangest, most interesting, and most macabre cases.

  • Marion, Robert | Was George Washington Really the Father of Our Country? (1994) (NF)
    Speculation on the effects that genetic disorders and disease may have had on historical characters like JFK, Lincoln, Bonaparte, etc.

  • Marr, John S. | The Eleventh Plague (1999) (F)
    The 10 plagues of Egypt are visited on the world by a bioterrorist.

  • Massie, Robert K. | Nicholas and Alexandra (1995) (F)
    Massie, the father of a hemophiliac, writes a fictionalized account of Nicholas II, the lastRussian tsar, and his wife, Alexandra.

  • Mawer, Simon | Mendel's Dwarf (1998) (F)
    Mendel's great-great-great-nephew is a prominent genetic researcher who suffers from achondroplastic dwarfism. A disturbing ending and erotic passages may make this book inappropriate to use with students.

  • Mayr, Ernst | The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance (1982) (NF)
    Discusses man's attempts to classify and understand the diversity of life forms on Earth.

  • Mayr, Ernst | Towards a New Philosophy of Biology: Observations of an Evolutionist (1988) (NF)
    Merges the science of biology, philosophy, and evolution.

  • Mayr, Ernst | One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought (1991) (NF)
    An analysis of Darwin's evolutionary theories and their impact on science.

  • Mayr, Ernst | This Is Biology: The Science of the Living World (1997) (NF)
    Traces the development of biology from ancient Greeks to age of biotechnology, weaving in relationships to history and ethics.

  • Mayr, Ernst | What Evolution Is (2001) (NF)
    Argues evolution is not a theory but a fact—provides evidence interesting populational evidence and ends with "How Did Mankind Evolve?"

  • McGrayne, Sharon Bertsch | Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries (1993) (NF)
    The story of 14 women who have either won the Nobel prize or contributed to the win by another scientist.

  • McGrayne, Sharon Bertsch | Prometheans in the Lab: Chemistry and the Making of the Modern World (2001) (NF)
    From nylon to fertilizer to DDT, stories of nine chemists to bring home the excitement and importance of their work in the modern world.

  • McNamee, Gregory, ed. | The Sierra Club Reader (paperback 1995) (NF)
    A collection of writings from The Sierra Club.

  • Mitchell, W. J. T. | The Last Dinosaur: The Life and Times of a Cultural Icon (1998) (NF)
    A look at the evolving image of the dinosaur.

  • Mones, Paul | Stalking Justice (1996) (NF)
    Mones chronicles the first time DNA fingerprinting evidence was used in the U.S. to convict a serial murderer.

  • Montgomery, Sy | Walking with the Great Apes: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Birute Galdikas (1991) (NF)
    The stories of three great female primatologists who have given their lives to studying another primate species.

  • Morris, Desmond | The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal (1967) (NF)
    An examination of man from the scientist's point of view.

  • Morris, M. E. | Biostrike (paperback 1996) (F)
    A runaway freighter filled with lethal bacteria must be stopped.

  • Mowat, Farley | Never Cry Wolf (1963) (NF)
    Mowat tells about his adventures with a family of wolves.

  • Mowat, Farley | Woman in the Mists: The Story of Dian Fossey and the Mountain Gorillas (1988) (NF)
    The story of Fossey's life with the gorillas of Rwanda, Africa, and a theory on why she was murdered.

  • Mullis, Kary | Dancing Naked in the Mind Field (1998) (NF)
    A description of the author's adventures on the way to inventing PCR.

  • Nesse, Randolph M., M.D., and George C. Williams | Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine (1995) (NF)
    Describes illness as important to honing our adaptations to our environment (development of fever, sneezing, etc.) and hypothesizes new ways to treat problems based on Darwinian principles.

  • Noble, Holcomb | Next: Coming Era in Medicine (1988) (NF)
    A prediction of the future of medicine and technology.

  • Oldstone, Michael | Viruses, Plagues, and History (1998) (NF)
    The impact of communicable diseases on history.

  • Oppel, Kenneth | The Devil's Cure (2001) (F)
    A prison inmate may possess the cure for cancer in his blood, but getting it may be more than Dr. Laura Donaldson bargained for.

  • Peattie, Donald C. | Flowering Earth: Wood Engravings by Paul Landacre (1991) (NF)
    A reprint of the 1939 book on the history of the plant kingdom.

  • Perutz, Max F. | Is Science Necessary? Essays on Science and Scientists (1989) (NF)
    A book of essays by a Nobel-prize-winning molecular biologist.

  • Peters, C. J., et al. | Virus Hunter: Thirty Years of Battling Hot Viruses Around the World (1997) (NF)
    C. J. Peters saw most of the emerging viruses during his CDC years and lived to tell the story.

  • Plotkin, Mark J. | Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest (1993) (NF)
    Plotkin has attempted to learn all he can about the medicinal uses of plants from South American shamans before they become extinct.

  • Pohl, Frederick | Chernobyl (1987) (F)
    The author traveled to Moscow to collect the facts used in this fictionalized account of the Russian nuclear disaster.

  • Poole, Joyce | Coming of Age with Elephants: A Memoir (1996) (NF)
    The story of elephants, their habitat, and how humans endanger them.

  • Preston, Richard | The Hot Zone (1995) (F)
    A frightening story of an Ebola outbreak.

  • Preston, Richard | The Cobra Event (1997) (F)
    A bioterrorist story of the dispersal of genetically engineered pathogens.

  • Preston, Richard | The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story (2002) (NF)
    The history and eradication of the small pox virus.

  • Quammen, David | Flight of the Iguana: A Sidelong View of Science and Nature (1988) (NF)
    A collection of nature essays that originally appeared in Outdoors magazine.

  • Quammen, David | The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions (1996) (NF)
    A study of island biogeography and how it impacts extinction and conservation.

  • Quinn, Daniel | Ishmael, 5th ed. (1995), The Story of (1996), My Ishmael: A Sequel (1997) (F)
    Quinn's unusual storyteller relates stories of a spiritual journey with ecological overtones as told to three different students.

  • Raup, David M. | Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck (1991) (NF)
    Theories on extinction.

  • Reichs, Kathy | Deja Dead (1997), Death du Jour (1999), Deadly Decisions (2000) (F)
    Reichs is a forensic anthropologist whose main character, Temperance Brennan, is the same and who splits her time between North Carolina and Canada just like Reichs.

  • Restak, Richard | Receptors: The Brain Has a Mind of Its Own (1994) (NF)

  • Rhodes, Richard | Deadly Feasts: The "Prion" Controversy and the Public Health (1997) (NF)
    A look into decades of research into diseases like kuru, scrapie, and mad-cow disease.

  • Ridley, Matt | Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters (2000) (NF)
    The story of one gene on each of our chromosomes and how it affects development.

  • Ridley, Matt | Nature Via Nurture—Genes, Experience & What Makes Us Human (2003)(NF)
    Explores nature versus nurture arguments, and presents emerging evidence that intricate relationships between genes and the environment make them dependent upon each other.

  • Roberts, Royston M. | Serendipity: Accidental Discoveries in Science (1989) (NF)
    A collection of stories about accidental discoveries that have changed science.

  • Roueche, Berton | Eleven Blue Men and Other Narratives of Medical Detection (1953), The Orange Man and Other Narratives of Medical Detection (1971) (NF)
    A collection of essays on medical disorders and their detection.

  • Ryan, Frank | Virus X: Tracking the New Killer Plagues Out of the Present and into the Future (1997) (NF)
    A less sensationalized story of emerging and reemerging viruses than Laurie Garrett's book.

  • Sacks, Oliver | The Island of the Colorblind (1997) (NF)
    The author studies total colorblindness and a rare type of paralysis in light of their appearance in Pacific Island populations; includes anthropology, botany, and medicine.

  • Sagan, Carl | The Dragons of Eden: Speculation on the Evolution of Human Intelligence (1977) (NF)
    A somewhat dated look at the evolution of the human brain.

  • Sagan, Carl | The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark (1996) (NF)
    A look at how science works and how scientific critical-thinking skills can be used in other disciplines.

  • Sagan, Carl, and Ann Durian | Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: A Search for Who We Are (1992) (NF)
    A look at the evolution of man starting with the Big Bang.

  • Sayre, Anne | Rosalind Franklin and DNA (1978) (NF)
    Franklin did not live to share the Nobel prize for the discovery of DNA structure, but her contributions were invaluable.

  • Schlosser, Eric | Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (2001) (NF)
    A disturbing look at the empty and excess calories, unhealthy menus, and dangerous practices and processing that may affect those who dine at fast food restaurants.

  • Schreiber, Whitley, et al. | Nature's End: The Consequences of the Twentieth Century (1986) (F)
    A cautionary tale of what will happen if we continue to destroy the environment at the rate we did in the twentieth century.

  • Shnayerson, Michael and Mark Plotkin | The Killers Within:The Deadly Rise of Drug-Resistant Bacteria (2003) (NF)
    Focusing on staph, strep, and enteric bacteria, antibiotic resistance is explained and cautions made concerning drug overuse in both humans and livestock. Suggestions on both lessening the problems and searching for new antibiotic sources are discussed.

  • Silverstein, Herman | Threads of Evidence (1997) (NF)
    A look at forensic technology with examples from actual cases.

  • Slack, J. M. W. | Egg and Ego: An Almost True Story of Life in the Biology Lab (1999) (NF)
    Words of wisdom for anyone wanting to enter the field of science.

  • Stone, Irving | The Origin: A Biographical Novel of Charles Darwin (1980) (F)
    A fictionalized biographical account of Darwin's life.

  • Sykes, Brian | The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry (2001) (NF)
    How decoding mitochondrial DNA answers questions of human origins.

  • Thomas, Lewis | The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher (1978), The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher (1979), The Fragile Species (1992), The Youngest Science: Notes of a Medicine-Watcher (1984) (NF)
    Thomas's collections of essays on life.

  • Vonnegut, Kurt | Galapagos (1987) (F)
    A futuristic, end-of-the-world story set in the Galapagos Islands.

  • Wambaugh, Joseph | The Blooding (1991) (F)
    A novel based on the case of the first use of DNA fingerprinting evidence in a British rape and murder investigation.

  • Warner, William | Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs, and the Chesapeake Bay (1976) (NF)
    The story of life on the Chesapeake Bay.

  • Watson, James | The Double Helix (1968) (NF)
    Watson's account of the events that led to the discovery of DNA structure.

  • Watson, James | DNA: The Secret of Life (2003) (NF)
    A history of DNA from Mendel to genome sequencing.

  • Weinberg, Samantha | A Fish Caught in Time: The Search for the Coelacanth (2000) (NF)
    The history of the search for the coelocanth.

  • Weiner, Jonathan | The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time (1994) (NF)
    The story of Rosemary and Peter Grant, who have observed beak evolution for 20 years in finches on Daphne Island in the Galapagos.

  • Weiner, Jonathan | Time, Love, and Memory: A Great Biologist and His Quest for the Origins of Behavior (1999) (NF)
    A biography of Seymour Benzer, the man who discovered how to use viral DNA to map a gene.

  • Weissman, Gerald | The Woods Hole Cantata: Essays on Science and Society (1985) (NF)
    A collection of essays that highlight the parallels between science and society.

  • White, Ryan, and Ann Marie Cunningham | Ryan White: My Own Story (1991) (NF)
    A biography of Ryan White, one of most famous AIDS victims.

  • Wills, Christopher | Yellow Fever, Black Goddess: The Convolution of People and Plagues (1997) (NF)
    A look at how disease has affected history in addition to a analysis of current diseases.

  • Wilson, Charles | Extinct (1997) (F)
    The Gulf Coast is terrorized by a megalodon, "assumed to be extinct" ancestor of the great white shark (only bigger).

  • Wilson, Edward O. | The Diversity of Life (1992) (NF)
    A look at the loss of diversity, its effects, and some solutions.

  • Wilson, Edward O. | Sociobiology: The New Synthesis: Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition (2000) (NF)
    A description of the then-new science of sociobiology (the study of the biological basis of social behavior).

  • Wimpier, Eric P. | Why Geese Don't Get Obese (and We Do): How Evolution's Strategies for Survival Affect Our Everyday Lives (1998) (NF)
    Takes a look at how animals (including humans) have evolved strategies to help them survive.

  • Zimmer, Carl | At the Water's Edge: Fish with Fingers, Whales with Toes, and How Life Came Ashore and Went Back to Sea (1998) (NF)
    The history of vertebrate evolution with elaborate examples.

  • Zimmer, Carl | Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures (2000) (NF)
    A thorough look at parasites.

  • Zimmer, Carl | Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea (2001) (NF)
    A history of evolution for the layperson.

  • Zimmerman, Barry E. | Killer Germs: Microbes and Diseases That Threaten Humanity (1996) (NF)
    A graphic treatment of emerging and reemerging diseases.

Tricia Glidewell has taught AP Biology for 24 years in Atlanta and has served as an AP Reader and Table Leader for 12 years. She has been a College Board consultant for 15 years, teaching one-day workshops and weeklong summer institutes to new and experienced teachers all over the Southeast. She received the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award for the state of Georgia in 1999.

Carolyn Schofield Bronston has taught at Spring Branch's Memorial High School and Tyler's Robert E. Lee High School in Texas. Traveling as a consultant for the College Board since 1979, she also reads the AP Exam each June, authored the Teacher's Guide—AP Biology, created the AP Teacher's Corner, is a member of the Biology Development Committee, and serves as the AP Biology content advisor for AP Central. She is a winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence, the OBTA for Texas, the Tandy Award, and the Texas Excellence Award.

Authored by

  • Tricia Glidewell
    Marist School
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Carolyn Schofield Bronston
    Robert E. Lee High School
    Tyler, Texas