Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth

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About the Book

This richly illustrated book to accompany the PBS science documentary Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth combines vivid, descriptive images from the series and original artwork with the compelling story of the world of microbes and their role in the Earth's ecosystem. The authors have built upon the series content to offer a more comprehensive view of our relationship with the planet's tiniest inhabitants.

Targeted to a general audience, the book's lively style will engage parents and their children and teachers and their students, along with other members of the science-interested public, putting the vitally important role of the microbial world into stories and terms familiar to the reader.

Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth was selected for inclusion on the 2001 Best Books for the Teen Age List by the New York Public Library and as an Editor’s Choice in Life Sciences by Science Books and Films.

Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth is available through,, and 

Key Features

Critical Acclaim for Intimate Strangers 

Rarely, oh so rarely has science been explained to the public with such zestful clarity. Not since Paul de Kruif's "Microbe Hunters" has anyone produced as exciting an exposition of how microbes and humans interact. The writers flavor the text with titillating examples, evocative metaphors, and thought-provoking questions. This book constitutes a passport to a whole wondrous realm, not just a single destination.

Moselio Schaecter, Former ASM President


…an engaging overview of the role of microorganisms in the Earth’s ecosystem.”

Trends in Microbiology, September, 2000


A cornucopia of exciting facts and anecdotes, of scientific information and modern research.  Vastly informative—and plenty of fun.”


The Book Reader, Spring/Summer 2000


Its style, illustrations and readability make it a joy.  It fills a niche well and provides an inviting avenue through which teenagers and adults can learn about microbes and become acquainted with their activities and their effects on humans and the biosphere.”


The American Biology Teacher, September 2000