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Summary

A deep dive into the immune system that will forever change how you think about your body - how it works and why it is both your greatest ally and most dangerous enemy - from the creator of the popular science YouTube channel Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell.

You wake up and feel a tickle in your throat. Your head hurts. You're mildly annoyed as you get the kids ready for school and dress for work yourself. Meanwhile, an utterly epic war is being fought, just below your skin. Millions are fighting and dying for you to be able to complain as you drink your cup of tea and head out the door.

So what, exactly, is your immune system?

Second only to the human brain in its complexity, it is one of the oldest and most critical facets of life on Earth. Without it, you would die within days. In Immune, Philipp Dettmer, the brains behind the most popular science channel on YouTube, takes listeners on a journey through the fortress of the human body and its defences. There is a constant battle of staggering scale raging within us, full of stories of invasion, strategy, defeat and noble self-sacrifice. In fact, in the time you've been listening to this, your immune system has probably identified and eradicated a cancer cell that started to grow in your body.

Each chapter delves deeply into an element of the immune system, including defences like antibodies and inflammation as well as threats like viruses, bacteria, allergies and cancer, as Dettmer reveals why boosting your immune system is actually nonsense, how parasites sneak their way past your body's defences, how viruses - including the coronavirus - work and what goes on in your wounds when you cut yourself.

Enlivened by immersive descriptions, Immune turns one of the most intricate, interconnected and confusing subjects - immunology - into a gripping adventure through an astonishing alien landscape.

Challenging what you know and think about your own body and how it defends you against all sorts of maladies and how it might also eventually be your own downfall, Immune is a vital and remarkably fun crash course in what is arguably, and increasingly, the most important system in the body.

©2021 Philipp Dettmer (P)2021 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Critic reviews

"A truly brilliant introduction to the human body's vast system for fighting infections and other threats." (John Green, number one New York Times best-selling author of The Fault in Our Stars)

"Reads as if it's a riveting sci-fi novel...a delightful treat for the curious." (Tim Urban, creator of Wait but Why

What listeners say about Immune

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a must read for everyone

What a pleasure to listen to this wealth of knowledge. As we emerge through the last 2 years everyone should take the time to better understand the incredible biology that keeps us going

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phenomenal

What a phenomenal book! From the writing to the performance, it's fantastic!

Philip Dettmer should be proud of this work

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Essential reading


Just brilliant…. So listen or read it.

So much complex information given in a simple to understand way.

This is essential information for all the google doctors out there who think they know it all.

This book has made me want to study more on immunology and virology, humbling the work these amazing people have done.

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  • 22-04-22

Interesting and occasionally funny

The book was informative and well structured, moving along at an appropriate pace. The amount of information never felt overwhelming. It's a personal preference but I found the narration to be irritating for long periods of time - too monotone and robotic, it felt at odds with the text at times. I probably won't listen to this again and would be unlikely to listen to another audiobook with this narration, but it made me interested in the topic and I did finish the book so 4/5 seems right to me.

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Instructive but condescending

This book does cover all the bases and you learn a lot but the number of analogies is just hugely annoying and frankly unnecessary.

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Fantastic.

It’s great, I liked how it simplified in the right places and used good analogies. Thanks for making me understand my body better. Thanks to everyone that made this book.

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Great for beginners

Loved this book, it made understanding the human immune system enjoyable, with appropriate humour. I will be listening to this book again.

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Fantastic book for 13+

Everyone over 13+ should listen to this book. The book gives you important information. The book is defenitly not for kids tho.

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Complexity delivered brilliantly

As per the YouTube channel, this book helps break down an INCREDIBLY complex subject. Fantastic narration with some dry humour. It took a little while to ease in, but then I couldn't stop listening

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Entertaining and educational at the same time.

Entertaining and educational at the same time. Wish more titles was written as good as this one. Also narration is excellent.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-05-22

Incredible

This audiobook has opened my eyes to the world of immunology and I have learnt many things from it. I am grateful that this exists and even more grateful now to my immune system which keeps me alive.

This audiobook made things easier to understand with examples given throughout to compare.

This is my first audiobook and my experience of it was incredible.

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  • Erin Versfeld
  • 17-03-22

Thorough and plain-English without dumbing it down

Captures the complexity of the immune system in an engaging and informative fashion without making the listener/ reader feel as though they're being spoken down to. A wonderfully up-to-date guide to our immune systems and much needed resource in the modern world. Dettmer's performance is excellent and his voice a soothing guide through this vast topic.

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  • Andreas Riris
  • 14-12-21

OMG!!

Download. Listen. Thank me later.

Excellent work by all involved
Perfect way to get a head start in immunology

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  • Ina
  • 04-12-21

A must listen to

In an era of misinformation running rampant in social media this book is a must to listen to as it explains in simplified terms how the immune system works and using nice analogies explain in a layman’s language complex interactions and actors of this fantastic and complex system: our immune system

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-12-21

Amazing book about such a wonderful topic

The way it's written makes it easy to understand logically and see the whole perspective. Wonderful humour and metaphors, scientific terms made easy to work with.

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  • L
  • 25-11-21

Just wonderful.

A really incredible insight and so well made. such friendly language and tone. Not something I would normally read and loved it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-11-21

Great!

It's great! Philipp you did a great job on this book and the rest of Kurzgesagt did a great job in the videos about it!