This powerful presentation of man's struggle to understand and control the bubonic plague is one in a series of six books that explore germs, diseases, and organizations that fight disease. It is difficult to imagine a middle grade or even older reader who would not be immediately drawn into this tale of death and destruction, which begins simply, "It was the end of the world." Astonishing facts, including that one-third of the population perished and the bubonic plague is still infecting people today, will keep most readers engaged. Full-color illustrations, photos, and maps complement the well-written, informative text. Clear, concise, and well-chosen words convey the horror and daily struggle Europeans faced in the wake of the plague throughout the mid-fourteenth century. They also reveal the triumph of the discovery of the disease's cause in the late nineteenth century. Although each chapter contains no more than two pages of simple text, the writing is powerful. There is plenty of information here for middle grade science and history reports, and the table of contents and short index will be helpful for young researchers. Teachers and parents should exercise some caution, however, in recommending this book to young children. Authentic pictures of skeletons, a leech draining blood from a victim's ear, and magnified pictures of a rat flea, for example, may disturb some children. The author does not attempt to sugarcoat the truth. One chapter describes what is was like to be infected with the plague, describing in detail the painful black swellings all over the body and eventual vomiting blood before eventual death. The author describes how the popular nursery game, "Ring Around the Rosie," is probably a reference to the plague, specifically to the swelling infections and the burning of the resulting dead bodies in this installment of the "History of Germs" series. Reviewer: Leigh Geiger, Ph.D.