I have literally and physically just closed the hard cover of the book as I read the last pages of ‘An Elegant Defense’ by Matt Richtel. My mind is still trying to process all that I have read, all that I have learned, and all the journeys I have taken.

This book is that – a journey. A journey through the immune system.

Ironically, I began this January as I was trying to decide how to better engage with my anatomy students – a class I was currently teaching but hadn’t taught in over ten years. And now, I find myself finishing the book as I sit isolated at home as the world deals with a pandemic.

The torential rain outside does nothing to brighten the mood. But on the bright side, I know there is hope for us all. For in the pages of this book, I found light. I found joy among the pain. I found direction among the stories.

Within it’s pages, the reader will follow the medical stories of some remarkable people. I found myself becoming attached to their experiences and hoping for the best for them. While taking every step through their medical endeavor, I learned more than I thought I knew about the immune system and particularly disease and how our defense responses to it.

I have read few books that I wish as a teacher I could build a course around. This is one of them!

I have built into my current anatomy course information on the immune system – a deeper look into how our organism survives. We spent over a month looking at the parts, the lymphatic system, and digging into the microbiome. We had begun to differentiate between viruses and bacteria and how we cope with both – internally and externally.

Although, I now find myself having retreated to online learning and skillfully trying to will my students through the main systems of the human domain, I still feel a pull to create a course which arches the immune system, discusses other systems to understand, and uses passages from this book to solidify our knowledge.

Perhaps, as I believe is the author’s hope, by understanding a little more we will also know when to elevated our choices concerning our own health – whether or not we are sick.

Science is present, but takes a backstage to the journey of the individuals. There is much we have learned and yet much more to learn. This book is a diving board to prepare inquistive minds.

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Spring Reading Review: An Elegant Defense

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