Reviews of Life on the Edge
appeared in :
American Scientist (brief mention in "Unshelved" section)
Florida Times, Jacksonville, July 12, 1998 (reviewer: J.Masiulewicz)
"... readable, accessible, informative ... "
Nature, vol 393, p. 227-228 (reviewer: Andrew R. Cossins, University of Liverpool)
"Michael Gross has written a highly readable account of these organisms and the excitement
surrounding their discovery. His overview is masterfully broad, linking their discovery
with a number of recent developments in molecular biology, biotechnology,
pollution control, biogeochemistry, and the origin of life."
New Scientist, 15.8.1998, p. 44-45 (reviewer: John Parkes, University of Bristol)
"His passion is for the biological adaptations that allow life to thrive in unexpected places, from
salt-loving bacteria in the Dead Sea to quick-freezing frogs ...
Readers with a science background will find this book a fascinating introduction
to the subject, and they can follow up particular aspects using the reading lists
and Internet links provided. Others may find the book challenging in parts, despite
the glossary, but it is well worth the effort. How else could you experience life
on the edge?"
Science News vol.154, 29.8.1998, p.130 (brief presentation in "Books" section)
Trends in Biotechnology, May 1999, p. 216 (reviewer: William D. Grant, University of Leicester)
"This is an engrossing book, written in an easy, discursive style that reflects
the author's other persona as a prolific, populist scientific journalist. ...
one can't fault the ambition and insight of the author in attempting such an all-embracing work - all in all,
an excellent read!"
Trends in Microbiology, Oct.1998, p. 416 (reviewer: Edward F. DeLong, Monterey Bay Aquarium)
"Life on the Edge: Amazing Creatures Thriving in Extreme Environments should prove a fun
read for undergraduate students versed in basic biochemistry and biology and pique their
curiosity about unorthodox and unusual microorganisms living in bizarre habitats.
The book's congenial tone and timely, topical coverage compensate somewhat for its
general lack of synthesis. For those not familiar with 'extremophile' research,
the book provides a fair overview of current knowledge in the area."
I am listing reviews here as soon as I get them, so if you know of any that aren't
mentioned, please let me know. Thanks!
Reviews of the German edition
appeared in :
DIE ZEIT, 4.7.1997 (reviewer: Peter Buechler)
"The biochemist Michael Groß has performed a small miracle ("Kunststück"). He deals with
topic of organisms adapted to extreme conditions with a clear overview and
the same time he provides the context important for the understanding.
Gross is an experienced researcher becomes obvious from the clarity with
he presents, for example, heat and cold shock proteins and new tricks from
repair workshop of the cell. He demonstrates how so-called chaperones help
protein molecules to acquire the "right" shape and not to interfere with
neighboring molecules. Upon exposure to heat or other stress, chaperones
called into action and stabilize the protein molecules highly prone to
denaturation. Set apart from the main text, there are portraits of
and boxes dealing with current research in molecular biology scattered in.
scope of the text is wide: from the limits of life on Earth, passing life
scorching heat (113C is the record), life at subzero temperatures, in the
sea, in the Dead Sea and in acids, to the molecular helpers for survival
extreme situations. The travel to the extremists is worth the while."
Spektrum der Wissenschaft 12/1997 (reviewer: Helmut Koenig)
"... The book is written in a loose form, but quite absorbing, and suitable for a
wide audience. Historical and personal materials loosen up the text. ... Anyway, the book is suitable for
opening new worlds for [its] readers.
For archaea researchers, too, the book may be a gripping read. Between the
lines, some of the pioneering spirit is conveyed, which the occupation with these
extreme worlds calls for, perhaps very remotely comparable with the effect that
the book "Microbe Hunters" by Paul de Kruif had in the 1920s.
... The subject remains fascinating, and we may hope for a sequel in 10 years. ..."
Zentralblatt für Bakteriologie 3/1998 (reviewer: Horst Malke)
"On the whole, this is a lovely book which covers the subject in a lively, up-to-date
and reliable fashion."
Flachgauer Nachrichten, 31.7.1997
Hanauer Anzeiger, 12.7.1997
Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, 15.8.1997
Stuttgarter Zeitung, 15.8.1997
Taeglicher Anzeiger / Walsroder Zeitung / Aller-Zeitung, 10.9.1997
Comments on the English version:
"In this engaging account of extremes, Michael Gross succeeds in drawing
connections between the seemingly disconnected. From the inner workings of
living cells to extreme environments on Earth and other planets, he
provides a highly readable account of how systems deal with extreme
Thomas R Cech
Nobel Laureate (Chemistry, 1989)
"Where are the limits of life? There are a number of books that address this question,
notably The Outer Reaches of Life by John Postgate and the recently published Life
on the Edge by Michael Gross. Both books do an excellent job of covering the broad topic of life's
adaptation to diverse environments. Though geared toward readers with a less technical
background than the target audience of Extremophiles, both books adeptly explain
in a clear language the salient features of survival strategies used by prokaryotes adapted to very
specific stress conditions."
Karl Rusterholtz and Mechthild Pohlschröder in:
Cell xx, p. 469, 1999