Germs, Genes, & Civilization: How Epidemics Shaped Who We Are Today

David P. Clark, Pearson/FT Press, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 9780137019960
Clark (Molecular Biology Made Simple and Fun) argues that microscopic bacteria, viruses, and fungi have played an enormous and largely unacknowledged role in human history. Beginning with Attila's attack of Rome, which was likely stopped by dysentery, and continuing through modern diseases such as AIDS and the Ebola virus, Clark investigates a large number of illnesses and uncovers the ways in which they have impacted historical events. The same genes that provide humanity with protection against some endemic diseases, Clark argues, may also cause sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. With wit and humor, the author turns death, an ever-heavy topic, into an engrossing exploration of the course of mankind. Though Clark's lack of references will make it difficult for readers to gain additional information, there's much of interest in this chronicle of microbes through the ages. (Jun.)
Reviewed on: 06/28/2010
Release date: 05/01/2010
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Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-13-706904-0
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