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Germs, Genes, & Civilization: How Epidemics Shaped Who We Are Today (FT Press Science)

Germs, Genes, & Civilization: How Epidemics Shaped Who We Are Today (FT Press Science) [Kindle Edition]

David P. Clark

Kindle-Preis: EUR 9,37 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

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In Germs, Genes and Civilization, Dr. David Clark tells the story of the microbe-driven epidemics that have repeatedly molded our human destinies. You'll discover how your genes have been shaped through millennia spent battling against infectious diseases. You'll learn how epidemics have transformed human history, over and over again, from ancient Egypt to Mexico, the Romans to Attila the Hun. You'll learn how the Black Death epidemic ended the Middle Ages, making possible the Renaissance, western democracy, and the scientific revolution. Clark demonstrates how epidemics have repeatedly shaped not just our health and genetics, but also our history, culture, and politics. You'll even learn how they may influence religion and ethics, including the ways they may help trigger cultural cycles of puritanism and promiscuity. Perhaps most fascinating of all, Clark reveals the latest scientific and philosophical insights into the interplay between microbes, humans, and society - and previews what just might come next.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

David Clark was born June 1952 in Croydon, a London suburb. After winning a scholarship to Christ's College, Cambridge, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1973. In 1977, he earned his Ph.D. from Bristol University for work on antibiotic resistance. David then left England for postdoctoral research at Yale and then the University of Illinois. He joined the faculty of Southern Illinois University in 1981 and is now a professor in the Microbiology Department. In 1991, he visited Sheffield University, England, as a Royal Society Guest Research Fellow. The U.S. Department of Energy funded David's research into the genetics and regulation of bacterial fermentation from 1982 till 2007. David has published more than 70 articles in scientific journals and graduated more than 20 masters and Ph.D. students. David is the author of Molecular Biology Made Simple and Fun, now in its third edition, as well as three more serious textbooks.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 413 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 304 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 0137019963
  • Gleichzeitige Verwendung von Geräten: Bis zu 5 Geräte gleichzeitig, je nach vom Verlag festgelegter Grenze
  • Verlag: FT Press; Auflage: 1 (8. Januar 2010)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B0032BW5CK
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #671.474 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.8 von 5 Sternen  84 Rezensionen
73 von 80 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Disappointingly shallow 28. März 2011
Von Molly - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I loved "Guns, Germs, and Steel" and was looking forward to another exciting book on the impact of disease on history. Unfortunately, this is not it. There are some great stories in this book, but overall it reads like a series of undergraduate lectures delivered with minimal fact-checking to an uncritical audience. In a book intended for non-scientists, it's appropriate to omit citations within the text, but no sources are listed anywhere, even for whole chapters and the most controversial claims. As teachers, we plead with students not to take claims at face value, but to look at the evidence. Books are listed at the end for "further reading," but no research articles. There's not much 21st century updating- surely the lovely stories about Helicobacter and language co-evolution and the scary ones about XDR-TB belong here. Prof. Clark knows his microbiology, but is incurious about human genetics, anthropology, and HIV epidemiology, to name just three fields central to his speculations. We are told (p. 15) that the sickle cell mutation is found "only in Africans indigenous to regions harboring P. falciparum malaria". This is just not true. The same mutation is found at relatively high frequencies in Greek, Saudi Arabian, East Indian, and other populations exposed to falciparum malaria; it has evolved independently at least five times. He speculates that differences in sexual permissiveness account for Christian vs Muslim differences in HIV prevalence rates in subSaharan Africa. For several years it's been known that circumcision is highly protective and explains most of these differences. "in Africa...AIDS will thin out the promiscuous and malnourished, and favor the spread of religious puritanism, particularly Islamic sects..." (p. 253). The book is full of this kind of disdainful and eugenic language. Dr Clark has his curmudgeonly peeves, which recur throughout; these include "political correctness," the "anti-smoking lobby", "homosexuals," working women (sloppy housekeepers, they expose their families to Salmonella), and the idea of human-caused global warming. (On p. 245, climate change is described as a natural long-term fluctuation). Did you know that automobile pollution kills germs? Really? Could be- but you will look in vain for a citation to this non-obvious factoid. The book's language is downright quaint. Not since the 1960's have scientists used terms like "savages," "primitive tribes", and "promiscuous." These have not been abandoned because of "political correctness," but because they are scientifically meaningless.
41 von 44 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Basic Overview of Epidemics & Civilization 10. August 2010
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
A very generalized account of the history of epidemics and how they have changed civilization. Also, how these epidemics evolve and how we evolve resistance to them. Everything from malaria, Black Death, Mad Cow, Typhus, etc..

This is a very easy read with short chapters. I read where some reviewers criticize this book because of its lack of footnotes or supportive material. On this point I would agree, it is most definitely lacking in these areas. Though it may be accurate historically, it is rather hard to check up on the author's remarks.

That being said, I still found it generally informative even if it is somewhat speculative.
39 von 43 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen A pox on all our houses 19. August 2010
Von Jennifer Smith - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Mr. Clark has written a book that discusses basic disease transmission and the results thereof in a way for the layperson to understand. He goes over the plagues that hit ancient Rome, Greece, Persia, etc. The belief in many religions that disease came from sin or evil spirits (or both) is also expounded upon in short, easy-to-read subsections in the chapter. There is also some scrying going on at the end, where Mr. Clark attempts to divine what sorts of diseases may be born from technology and future populations.

The strengths of the book are its accessibility for someone who may be a history buff but not much of an epidemiologist, and it certainly has interesting facts aobut how diseases wax and wane as microscopic critters make their way through us, leaving trails of death, disfigurement, and stronger immune systems.

The weakness of the book would be some of the writing. The author repeats himself often, sometimes only changing one word in a similar sentence on a nearby page. The repetition should have been done away with by an editor who knows better. The book could easily be 1/3 shorter than it is if the repetitions were taken out.

I've never written a book, and I do not have the sort of big brain that would allow me to become a professor of microbiology at a university, so I hate to nitpick someone else's work, but I wish the editor had done a better job here and I also wish there were footntotes so we could see where the information is coming from.
13 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Another work that explores the relationship among genes, germs, and civilization 1. August 2010
Von Steven A. Peterson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
David Clark is a professor of Microbiology at Southern Illinois University. And he has written a literate, accessible volume on the interaction of genes, germs, and civilization. One early example: Rome was a huge, teeming city where disease took a toll on residents. On the other hand, many died from these diseases. On the other hand, over time, they developed resistance to the germs that they had been subjected to. So, when "barbarians" like the Huns approached, from rural backgrounds where disease was not as prevalent, they often fell prey to disease and were unable to complete their conquest of Rome.

The central theme of his book (Page 11): "Human typically labor under the illusion that they control their own destiny. However, I argue in this book that infectious disease has had a massive unrecognized effect on human history and culture."

A good, solid work that provides many examples of the linkages among genes, germs, and civilization. If you want a detailed academic tome, this will not be for you. If you want illustrations of the interactions noted previously, then you will get context, rationale, and examples. Among subjects covered: crowding and disease; irrigation, sewers, and disease; food and disease (e.g., mad cow disease); "pestilence and warfare" (the title of one of his chapters). The final chapter looks at emerging diseases and what the future might mold.

In the end, I believe that he does a solid job in addressing the following (Page xiii): "Disease has influenced our cultural and religious beliefs, as well as determined the outcome of wars and major historical events. I have tried to show how beneficial long-term effects have resulted from epidemics that were terrible tragedies to those caught up in them."
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Good history of disease and civilization 1. Juni 2011
Von M. Gritts - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This book seemed overly selectionist. I think that was my only large complaint about this book. Every time he talks about a disease evolving on adaptation is considered, genetic drift isn't every mentioned. For instance, when talking about a influenza or ebola he only mentions that it will be selected for high virulence...etc. Genetic drift could have resulted in the same mutation...etc.

Also, he is quite repetitive, he seems to think the reader will forget what he has mentioned previously, so he then spends a sentence or two every section reminding us.

The paragraph structure is quite segmented and fairly distracting. I think that the longest paragraph was 15 sentences. Also, there are only three or four paragraphs per subsection. I guess the purpose of this was to keep those with less previous knowledge from becoming disinterested.
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Beliebte Markierungen

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The general principle that pestilence favors societies that have become resistant because of prior infection has had a vast effect on human history. &quote;
Markiert von 139 Kindle-Nutzern
denser populations are the first to build up resistance to the current infectious diseases in their region of the world. &quote;
Markiert von 139 Kindle-Nutzern
Evolution is simply a mechanism by which different living things compete using various genetic strategies. Those that propagate their own kind more effectively increase in numbers, and the less efficient go extinct. Mother Nature has no maternal instincts. &quote;
Markiert von 136 Kindle-Nutzern

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