The fascinating history of tuberculosis, the world’s most deadly disease, and the unexpected encounter of two men, Dr. Robert Koch, a noted German physician and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an English physician and author. Doyle, intrigued by Koch’s scientific methods returned to England after visiting Koch in Berlin and was inspired to flesh out the character of Sherlock Holmes and to face a tragic event in his own life.
“The Remedy is a rare, thrilling achievement: a book that helps us understand the roots of transformative ideas that simultaneously manages to tell a story worthy of a 19th-century novel, full of surprising links, rivalries, and intellectual triumph.”—Steven Johnson, author of The Ghost Map
“Tuberculosis has been around a long time. And the number of deaths attributable to TB makes it the most lethal contagious disease in human history. In 1882, German scientist Robert Koch identified its cause, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a slow-growing but hardy bacteria. He also devised many laboratory and research innovations, including his famous set of Koch’s postulates. Koch’s professional rival was Louis Pasteur. Another celebrated contemporary, author Arthur Conan Doyle, admired, critiqued, and in some ways mirrored Koch. Doyle and Koch began their careers as country doctors but aspired to be much more. Each valued attention to detail. Both were sleuths. Koch was a medical detective. Doyle was the creator of Sherlock Holmes, fiction’s most famous detective. Both flirted with fraud. For Doyle, it was superstition and spiritualism. For Koch, it was tuberculin, a bogus cure for TB. Goetz, a science writer and past executive editor of WIRED, brings together biography and scientific history, personal ambition and discovery, and a deadly infectious disease in a captivating tale.” –Tony Miksanek