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Deadly Companions: How Microbes Shaped Our History

Deadly Companions: How Microbes Shaped Our History
Author: Dorothy H. Crawford
ISBN 13: 9780199561445
ISBN 10: 199561443
Edition: Reprint
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2009-02-15
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
List Price: $19.95

Ever since we started huddling together in caves, the story of human history has been inextricably wed to the story of microbes. Bacteria and viruses have evolved and spread among us, shaping our society even as our changing human culture has shaped their evolutionary path.

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 civilization through infection, disease, and deadly pandemic. Beginning with a dramatic account of the SARS pandemic at the start of the 21st century, Dorothy Crawford takes us back in time to follow the interlinked history of microbes and humanity, offering 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 ever more vulnerable to microbe attack.

Showing that how we live our lives today—with increased crowding and air travel—puts us once again at risk, Crawford asks whether we might ever conquer microbes completely, and whether we need 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 influence our lives.