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Deadly Companions: How Microbes Shaped Our…

Deadly Companions: How Microbes Shaped Our History (edition 2007)

by Dorothy H. Crawford

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1133167,721 (3.5)3
"Beginning with a dramatic account of the SARS pandemic at the start of the 21st century, Crawford 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 exploring how changes in the way humans have lived throughout history have made us vulnerable to microbe attack. As we moved from hunter-gatherers to farmers to city-dwellers, microbes like malaria and smallpox moved with us, changing and evolving to spread between us and cause disease with ever more efficiency. Trade and conquest brought new opportunities. With the power to decimate populations, the diseases spread by microbes shaped the course of human history in a way that few other factors could." "Today, despite decades of success fighting microbial disease, we find ourselves once again at risk. As modern culture, with its overcrowded cities, air travel, and widespread use of antibiotics, faces threats from new microbes such as bird flu, and virulent drug-resistant strains of familiar foes, Crawford points out that the idea of a world free of dangerous microbes is an illusion: we can use our understanding of their opportunistic behaviour to tame them, even to make them into allies in some cases, but their existence and evolution is intertwined with ours, and we will never fully shake off our deadly companions."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)
Title:Deadly Companions: How Microbes Shaped Our History
Authors:Dorothy H. Crawford
Info:Oxford University Press, USA (2007), Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:evolution, microbiology, UR

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Deadly Companions: How Microbes Shaped Our History by Dorothy H. Crawford



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How microbes shaped our history
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
Deadly Companions is a broad overview of the science and history of microbial life, wrapped in a tight little package of just over 200 pages. It doesn't offer a ton of depth and it doesn't get technical, and it also doesn't really tread any waters that haven't been covered in dozens of other books, but it functions well as a brief and breezy synopsis of medical history and science.

It touches on most of the major microbial events in history - Bubonic Plague, Ebola, Malaria, Typhoid Fever, HIV/Aids, John Snow and Ebola, Alexander Fleming and Penicillin, modern antibiotic-resistant diseases, and so forth. What it lacks in focus it makes up for with readability, however. It would work great as an introductory book to the subject, as a refresher for someone who has studied it in the past, or as a light read for casual readers such as myself. I certainly enjoyed it. ( )
  Ape | Feb 21, 2015 |
A excellent layman's guide to infectious diseases, striking a good balance between scientific rigor and entertaining prose. The endnotes provide a wealth of further reading for the curious without interfering with the text. I'm a bit of an epidemiology nerd, but I think this would be fascinating even for people who haven't dreamed of working for the CDC. A glossary and well-done index are valuable additions to this OUP book. ( )
  ben_h | Apr 6, 2011 |
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