Deadly Companions:How microbes shaped our history: How microbes shaped our history

Front Cover
OUP Oxford, Oct 25, 2007 - Science - 272 pages
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.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

About the author (2007)

Dorothy H. 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 iThe Invisible Enemy: A Natural History of Viruses/i (OUP, 2000). She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and was awarded an OBE in 2005 for services to medicine and higher education.

Bibliographic information