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

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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.


""Clear, thoughtful, and thought-provoking, "Germs, Genes & Civilization" makes the case that infectious diseases have played a major role in shaping society. Clark argues that religion, morals, and even democracy have all been influenced by the smallest and most dangerous organisms on our planet. While you may not accept every argument, you will be stimulated, entertained, and enlightened."" Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., M.D., President, Stony Brook University, and former Director of the Midwest Regional Center for Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research ""Clark presents an insightful explanation of the invisible history all around us. He conveys the essential facts in a riveting and engaging manner that everyone, including the nonscientist, will find exceptionally interesting and revealing."" Michael C. Thomsett, author of "The Inquisition" """Germs, Genes & Civilization" is a fascinating and well-balanced account of how a wide variety of different kinds of microbes have influenced human evolution, culture, society, and even religious thought. Written for a lay audience, the relationships between genes and disease resistance and susceptibility are clearly discussed, and the book concludes with a sober assessment of what may be in store for us in the future."" Irwin W. Sherman, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Riverside, and author of "Twelve Diseases That Changed Our World" and "The Power of Plagues" The Stunning Hidden Interconnections Between Microbes and Humanity AD 452: Attila the Hun stands ready to sack Rome. No one can stop him--but he walks away. A miracle? No...dysentery. Microbes saved the Roman Empire. Nearly a millennium later, the microbes of the Black Death ended the Middle Ages, making possible the Renaissance, western democracy, and the scientific revolution. Soon after, microbes ravaged the Americas, paving the way for their European conquest. Again and again, microbes have shaped our health, our genetics, our history, our culture, our politics, even our religion and ethics. This book reveals much that scientists and cultural historians have learned about the pervasive interconnections between infectious microbes and humans. It also considers what our ongoing fundamental relationship with infectious microbes might mean for the future of the human species. The "good side" of history's worst epidemics The surprising debt we owe to killer diseases Where diseases came from... ...and where they may be going Children of pestilence: disease and civilization From Egypt to Mexico, from Rome to China STDs, sexual behavior, and culture How microbes can shape cultural cycles of puritanism and promiscuity


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 667 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 304 Seiten
  • 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
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  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.9 von 5 Sternen 92 Rezensionen
79 von 86 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.
42 von 45 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Basic Overview of Epidemics & Civilization 10. August 2010
Von John Grove - 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.
40 von 44 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 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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