Books


The Amoeba in the Room (2014)

Biologist Nicholas Money explores the extraordinary breadth of the microbial world and the vast swathes of biological diversity that can be detected only using molecular methods. The more we learn about microbial biodiversity, the less important become animals and plants in understanding life on earth. A revitalized vision of life emerges from this analysis, one in which we are challenged to reconsider our existence in proper relationship to the single-celled protists, bacteria, and viruses that constitute most of life on earth.
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Mushroom (2011)

Nicholas Money offers a vibrant introduction to the study of mushrooms in this book, investigating the intriguing biology of these organisms as well as their enduring cultural and imaginative appeal. A cultural, natural, and scientific history in one, Mushroom is a must-read for nature lovers of all persuasions. Reviews “Botanist Nicholas Money is unashamedly in thrall to the ‘fungal sex organ’. In this brilliant scientific and cultural exploration, these organisms of rot and soil positively sparkle.”—Nature
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The Triumph of the Fungi (2007)

This book is concerned with the most devastating fungal diseases in history. These are the plagues of trees and crop plants, caused by invisible spores that have reshaped entire landscapes and decimated human populations. The Triumph of the Fungi focuses on the fascinating biology of the well- and lesser-known diseases, and also tells the stories of the scientists involved in their study, and of the people directly impacted by the loss of forest trees like the chestnut, and cash crops such as coffee and cacao. In a surprisingly brief time, human knowledge of the fungi that infect plants has evolved from Biblical superstition, to the recognition of the true nature of plant disease, and, more recently, to a sense of awe for the sophistication of these microbes. The crucial issue of human culpability in these fungal epidemics is addressed in the books closing chapter. Reviews “Money writes in an easy and pleasant fashion with strong personal opinions; he essentially provides a one-on-one colloquy.”—The Quarterly Review of Biology
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Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores (2004)

Molds are everywhere: we inhale their microscopic spores from birth to death. But when an investigation in Ohio revealed that babies suffering from a serious lung illness had been exposed to a toxic black mold in their homes, millions of Americans became nervous about patches of mold in their own basements and bathrooms. Before long, lawsuits were filed by the residents of mold-contaminated homes in every state. By failing to address water damage, building contractors, plumbers, and insurance agents were held liable for exposing families to an unprecedented microbiological hazard. The mold crisis soon developed into a fully-fledged media circus. In Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores, Nicholas Money explores the science behind the headlines and courtroom dramas, and profiles the toxin-producing mold that is a common inhabitant of water-damaged buildings. Nicholas Money tells the most important mycological story since potato blight, with his inimitable style of scientific clarity and dark humor. Reviews “If Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) were reincarnated as a mycologist, he would have written this book. Dr. Money’s liberal dose of irreverent humor makes his very detailed, erudite book on toxic mold easy and enjoyable to read.”—no1cdatty (amazon.com reviewer)
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Mr. Bloomfield’s Orchard (2002)

Stinkhorns, puffballs, the "corpse finder," deadly Galerina, Satan's bolete, birch conks, black mold, the old man of the woods--the world of fungi is infinitely varied and not a little weird. Now, in Mr. Bloomfield's Orchard, Nicholas Money introduces readers to a dazzling array of fungi, from brewer's yeast and Penicillium to the highly lethal death cap. We learn of Madurella, which can erode bones until they look moth-eaten; Cordyceps, which wracks insects with convulsions, kills them, then sends a stalk out of the insect's head to release more infectious spores; and Claviceps, the poisonous ergot fungus, which causes hallucinations. Money also showcases the lives of famed mycologists—including Reginald Buller who wore horse blinders as he walked to work, the better to study luminescent fungi in his dark lab, and Charles Tulasne, the Audubon of fungi, whose illustrations of specimens border on art. And he recounts his own childhood introduction to fungi in Mr. Bloomfield's orchard, where trees and fruit were devoured by a rogue's gallery of bitter rot, canker, rust, powdery mildew, rubbery wood, and scab. Replete with historical photographs and simple yet effective illustrations, told with a refreshing sense of humor, Mr. Bloomfield's Orchard will fascinate anyone interested in the natural world. Reviews “Assuredly fascinating and highly entertaining, Money’s chronicle boasts an inimitable style that mixes up fact based information and creative analogies. Definitely for science devotees who appreciate rollicking good humor.”—Booklist

“Money's writing is accommodating and personal, with occasional chummy asides. Mr. Bloomfield's Orchard can be recommended to all nature lovers, regardless of background, who want to know more about fungi.”—Nature

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