My new book, Planet of Microbes: Perils and Promise in the Earth's Essential Life Forms, explores the latest discoveries that may reshape the future of our planet and our understanding of where we came from. Due in October, 2017 from University of Chicago Press, this book details the ways in which the world's tiniest, and sometimes most dangerous, microorganisms are being tapped as allies in seeking better health and a sustainable future.
From microbreweries to volcanic hot pools, the bottom of the ocean and miles below the earth’s surface, from our gardens to our bodies to Mars, a hidden living world is deepening our vision of life's capabilities.
Planet of Microbes puts a new spin on a remarkable era as powerful new tools reveal the abilities of microbes that respire minerals, make our wine, and shape our climate, in ways that might have therapeutic relevance. A comprehensive yet integrated overview of the microbial world around us, integrating concepts from many different disciplines and drawing lines of interdisciplinary activity where normally people don’t see them, it reveals how microbes and the search for understanding them have shaped all life around us.
With wonderfully personal stories and compelling explorations of the background behind discoveries and the people who made them, this book reveal opportunities in some of the most fascinating science of our time. It is a book about life, and the little things that keep it interesting.
"Anton's compelling narrative follows key findings in symbiosis, archaea and the micro biome..." Barbara Kiser, Nature
"...masterfully depicts the tug of war between Darwinian forces... and symbiosis... and ultimately the ubiquity of microbes. Mind-boggling." Booklist
"Anton shines in his detailing of research that has revealed the reach and weight of microbes and the chemistry and geology of ancient Earth." Kirkus Reviews
"... a fascinating journey through one of our least visible and most influential landscapes." Deborah Blum, Author of The Poisoner's Handbook
"...a romping tour of microbial research, from astrobiology to zoology (that) leaves us wth a new respect for these tiny creatures." Brooke Borel, Author of Infested: How the Bed Bug Took Over Our Bedrooms and Infiltrated the World
Oct. 26, 2017 6 pm, DePaul University, 103 Arts and Letters Hall. Chicago, IL
Nov. 1, 2017 6 pm, Columbia University Center for Science and Society, Buell Hall. New York, NY
Nov. 4, 2017 2 pm, Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore, Forest Park, IL
Nov. 15, 2017 6 pm, 57th Street Bookstore, with University of Chicago Microbiome Center Co-director Erin Lane
Dec. 5, 2017 7 pm, Vroman's Bookstore, with Caltech Professor Dianne Newman, Pasadena, CA
Jan. 11, 2018 7 pm, Tattered Cover, Denver CO
Jan. 18, 2018. 7 pm, Brazos Bookstore, Houston TX
Feb. 27, 2018 6 pm, Homewood Flossmoor Science Pub, Homewood, IL
A Carl Sandburg Award-Winner in Nonfiction and a Nominee for a National Magazine Award in Reporting, I am a professor in English at Chicago's DePaul University. I have written for Slate, Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Chicago and other publications. My book, The Longevity Seekers (University of Chicago Press, 2013), took readers inside a tale that began with worms and branched out to snare innovative minds from California to Crete, investments from big biotech, and endorsements from TV personalities like Oprah and Dr. Oz.
"Anton reveals a young field already rife with larger-than-life personalities and lab drama aplenty," Barbara Kiser, Nature.
"A must-read. The characters are fascinating. And the stories behind the breakthroughs that have already occurred are gripping enough to compete with a mystery novel. Any one of the scientists profiled by Anton is likely to change the course of history." S. Jay Olshanksy, Health Affairs
"Anton vividly recounts the excitement in the various labs... and the intensity of the scientists' search," Bee Wilson, Harper's
"A valuable, engaging addition to the literature on longevity. . . . Anton is well equipped for the task of translating complicated scientific matters into accessible language. . . [His] polished prose almost qualifies The Longevity Seekers for The New Yorker or a good detective yarn; understated are his extensive research forays, the double-checking of facts. and the erudition that undergirds the book.” W. A. Achenbaum, Global Public Health
The Longevity Seekers was named a finalist in nonfiction for the 2014 Book Awards from the Society of Midland Authors. Here is a link to The Longevity Seekers recent lecture: