The first major heading in the introductory chapter to this book is "What is a Virus?" That question is also the title of the last chapter and of its final heading as well. In between are 17 chapters dealing with most of the new and exciting features of viruses: morphologic, structural, quantitative, taxonomic, biochemical, genetic, and biologic— in the broadest sense. Although the book ends without a clear definition of a virus or a direct answer to the thrice-posed question, the properties commonly attributed to viruses in general are recapitulated. But even the question of whether those characteristics establish viruses as living is not clearly answered.
Each chapter, in addition to extensive citations, contains a few references for further reading. There are also numerous illustrations of viruses in electron micrographs as well as diagramatic representations. The extensive bibliography at the end of the book is arranged alphabetically by first author