The New Testament for Campylobacter studies

By Jonas Waldenström

I am a happy (associate) professor today! Instead of the usual invoices and commercial leaflets there was a thick envelope in my mailbox. A big fat envelope that clearly contained a book. And not just any book, it was The Book – the long awaited book on Campylobacter Ecology and Evolution!

I love books, I really do! And even if I don’t read all books I buy, it is always nice to see them standing there in the bookshelf. A living testimony of the collective pursuit of knowledge.

Some people think that academic books are living dinosaurs, a way of publishing that is no longer up to date with how modern academia works. Perhaps they are right, but I hope they are wrong. A good edited book can really bring together the current knowledge in a field, and serve as a starting point for those that are new to the subject.

Three books and a cup of coffee.

Three books and a cup of coffee.

In this particular book, Petra Griekspoor and I contributed with a chapter on Ecology and Host Associations of Campylobacter in Wild Birds. And that is a contributing factor to my happiness, of course. But really, it is nice with books, and I will definitely read this book from cover to cover. Among the contributors and the book editors, the book already is known as the New Testament!

The Campylobacter research field is fairly young (see for instance previous posts on this here and here) and has had the tradition of publishing books at a fairly regular basis. The first one, I believe, was published in 1994. When I started in 2001, I read the very recent Campylobacter book, edited by Irving Nachamkin and Martin Blaser, which was the pillar of wisdom at that time; published when the field as a whole started to move forward rapidly. In 2005, that book was replaced by Campylobacter Molecular and Cellular Biology, edited by Julian Ketley and Michel Konkel. And with time, of course, our New Testament will be replaced by a new book.

Very surprisingly, the three generation of Campylobacter books are almost identically thick.

Very surprisingly, the three generations of Campylobacter books are almost identically thick.

A big applause for Sam Sheppard and Guillaume Meric that managed to steer this book into a final product! Twenty-four chapters, and more than 50 authors – that is quite an achievement! Cheers to Swansea! And to Campylobacter! And to books in general!

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