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Deadly Companions

How Microbes Shaped Our History

Deadly Companions
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US$ 18.99
The story of human history has been inextricably entwined with the story of microbes. Combining tales of devastating epidemics with accessible science and fascinating history, Deadly Companions reveals how closely microbes have evolved with us over the millennia, shaping human culture through infection, disease, and deadly pandemic. - ;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 has itself 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 our move 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: that for generations to come, our deadly companions will continue to shape human history. - ;Lucid and authoritative... crisply written narrative. - Wendy Moore, Sunday Telegraph;Fascinating... Deadly Companions is authoritative, detailed and - despite its gruesome subject - never sensational. - PD Smith, The Guardian

Oxford University Press, UK; October 2007
272 pages; ISBN 9780191578205
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