The stunning, hidden interconnections between microbes and humanity.
AD 452: Attila the Hun stands ready to sack Rome. No one can stop him - but he walks away. A miracle? No... dysentery. Microbes saved the Roman Empire. Nearly a millennium later, the microbes of the Black Death ended the Middle Ages, making possible the Renaissance, Western democracy, and the scientific revolution. Soon after, microbes ravaged the Americas, paving the way for their European conquest.
Again and again, microbes have shaped our health, our genetics, our history, our culture, our politics, even our religion and ethics. This book reveals much that scientists and cultural historians have learned about the pervasive interconnections between infectious microbes and humans. It also considers what our ongoing fundamental relationship with infectious microbes might mean for the future of the human species.
©2010 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as FT Press (P)2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as FT Press
"With wit and humor, the author turns death, an ever-heavy topic, into an engrossing exploration of the course of mankind." (Publishers Weekly)
Say something about yourself!
This book is an excellent introduction regarding genetics and DNA. It is fairly long, approximately 7 hours or so, and at times can be a little dry. Overall though I have not seen any works that do a better job at introducing the basic principles of genetics and applying real life examples. To date I have listened to it twice and will likely listen to it more down the road.
Highly recommended, a clear eyed view of historical events highlighting the role of infections in shaping them. Spanning from early history to recent events.
Perhaps. There are nuggets of information that create interesting speculations on the impact of infectious diseases on the course of history: the rise and fall of civilizations and religions, conquerors and the conquered. Sound science. A little loopy in construction, as some anecdotes make multiple appearances in the text.
The narrator went to smile school, and read everything in sing-song cheeriness, as if reading a children's book to a slightly dense toddler. The jarring impact of hearing a voice like that talk about pestilence, cholera, devastation and death is, to say the least, distracting. Also, the mispronunciations made me wonder if there was adult supervision. Honestly, "prelate" is *not* pronounced pree-late.
On balance, if you're a science fan, grit your teeth and get through it.
I had hoped for more, but this book is pretty much what you would expect from a biologist playing at being a historian. There is a wealth of information about germs and genes, but only the most simplistic explanations of how they have shaped civilization.
The narration, while technically very good, is also woefully inappropriate to the topic, with tragic death and human suffering described in an almost cheerful tone of voice.
The content of this book is clear, though there are too many subchapters. The narration, on the other hand, was inappropriate juvenile. Summer McStravick has the most sing-song voice, and while this would be patronizing and annoying with any audiobook, it is truly inappropriate for reading a book on epidemics and mass death. I could hear her smiling as she says phrases like, "And so cholera killed millions on both coasts."
This material is more adequately covered in other audiobooks, and better narrated as well.
Very good book, probably better off read than listened to by non biologically-oriented people (some basic knowledge in biology will do).
I was hoping for a little more historical content than was provided.
It was satisfactory.
Yes, the way the narrator keeps you on the edge of your seat (earphones actually) is amazing. As a history book it is second to none - as a scientific thriller it is excellent. Absolutely enjoyable.
We don't think about it, but that is what makes us tick - germs and genes.
I'm lucky to have stumbled upon this book - it has already changed my life.
I'll never see the world the same again.
I think of another eye-opener like
I don't recall.
Yes, definitely and I did!
Is there any translation into any other European language so I can share it with my friends?
"Great content, shame about the voice..."
For those who believe that real history is made by "the little people" at least as much if not far more than by kings and generals, this book shows just how little - microscopic in fact - can be the real history-makers. For anyone who is squeamish, this book poses quite a challenge - the gory details of how you die from jus about any infectious disease you care to name are laid out here. All in all, I had a hunch that the history of germs was worth getting into and was not in the least disappointed. APART from the fact that you need to overlook the fact that the american narrator has virtually no feel whatsoever for words not found on the New York subway. The river that runs thru London (as featured in the black death) is apparently called the Taymess. The hordes who came out of Asia and helped to overrun the Roman empire were "tayters" (presumably of Irish extraction). i could go on and on. But after wondering why oh why the production company chose such a crass reader, I was able to get back to the history, which is grisly but fun.
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