Deadly Companions: How microbes shaped our history

Paperback | February 15, 2009

byDorothy H. Crawford

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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.

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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 m...

Dorothy Crawford is Professor of Medical Microbiology and Assistant Principal for the Public Understanding of Medicine, University of Edinburgh.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 0.03 inPublished:February 15, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199561443

ISBN - 13:9780199561445

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction1. How it all began2. Microbes and our hunter gatherer ancestors3. Microbes exploit the sedentary lifestyle4. Microbes, crowds and poverty5. Microbes go global6. Microbes, famine and starvation7. Science intervenes8. Current problemsConclusionsGlossaryIndex

Editorial Reviews

`Fascinating... Deadly Companions is authoritative, detailed and - despite its gruesome subject - never sensational.'PD Smith, The Guardian