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Deadly Companions How Microbes Shaped Our History



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Oxford University Press
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  • Deadly Companions How Microbes Shaped Our History
    Deadly Companions How Microbes Shaped Our History


Ever since we started huddling together in communities, the story of human history has been inextricably entwined with the story of microbes. They have evolved and spread amongst us, shaping our culture through infection, disease, and pandemic. At the same time, our changing human culture hasitself influenced the evolutionary path of microbes. Dorothy H. Crawford here shows that one cannot be truly understood without the other. Beginning with a dramatic account of the SARS pandemic at the start of the 21st century, she takes us back in time to follow the interlinked history of microbes and man, taking an up-to-date look at ancient plagues and epidemics, and identifying key changes in the way humans have lived - such as ourmove from hunter-gatherer to farmer to city-dweller - which made us vulnerable to microbe attack. Showing how we live our lives today - with increasing crowding and air travel - puts us once again at risk, Crawford asks whether we might ever conquer microbes completely, or whether we need to take a more microbe-centric view of the world. Among the possible answers, one thing becomes clear: thatfor generations to come, our deadly companions will continue to shape human history.

Author Biography

Dorothy Crawford is Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of Edinburgh, where she is also Assistant Principal for the Public Understanding of Medicine. Her previous publications include The Invisible Enemy: A Natural History of Viruses. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and was awarded an OBE in 2005 for services to medicine and higher education.

Table of Contents

How it all began
Microbes and our hunter gatherer ancestors
Microbes exploit the sedentary lifestyle
Microbes, crowds and poverty
Microbes go global
Microbes, famine and starvation
Science intervenes
Current problems
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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