It might sound crass to write that the COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest in a long line of infectious disease outbreaks, but a little perspective helps. Historian Kyle Harper previously impressed me with his study on
. In the role of climate and disease in the decline of the Roman Empire Plagues Upon the Earth, he offers a global, multidisciplinary environmental history of infectious disease, showing that it is a force that has both shaped and been shaped by human history. This magnificent book stood out as much for its nuance and academic rigour as it did for its readability.
environmental history, history and tagged adaptive immunity, adenoviruses, Aedes aegypti, Aedes mosquitoes, Africa, African slavery, agriculture, AIDS, Alfred Russell Wallace, ancient DNA, Andes mountains, Anopheles arabiensis, Anopheles atroparvus, Anopheles coluzzi, Anopheles funestus, Anopheles gambiae, Anopheles mosquitoes, Anopheles quadrimaculatus, Anthropocene, antibiotic resistance, antibiotics, antibodies, Antonine Plague, archaeology, Asia, Atlantic Ocean, Aztec civilization, bacteria, bats, Benjamin Franklin, beta thalassemia, bilharzia, birds, Black Death, black rats, book review, bovine tuberculosis, Brazil, bubonic plague, camels, Canada, Caribbean Sea, cattle, Charles Darwin, chickenpox, chickens, chimpanzees, China, chlorination, cholera, Christopher Columbus, cinchona bark, climate, climate change, coffee, colonialism, Columbian exchange, common cold, coronavirus, coronaviruses, COVID-19, crops, crowd diseases, Culex mosquitoes, DDT, demography, dengue fever, desinfectants, diarrhea, diarrheal diseases, diphtheria, Diptera, disease, disease ecology, disease vectors, DNA, dogs, domestication, donkeys, drinking water, Duffy negativity, dysentery, Ebola virus, economic growth, economic inequality, economics, Edward Jenner, Edward Long, Edwin Chadwick, Egypt, elephantiasis, empires, endemic diseases, England, environmental history, epidemics, epidemiology, Europe, evolution, faeces, falciparum malaria, famine, farming, feudalism, filariasis, fire, fish, flaviviruses, fleas, flies, fungi, Galen, genetics, genomics, geography, gerbils, Germany, globalisation, gorillas, governments, Gregory of Tours, haemoglobin, health, helminths, hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, herpes B, herpesviruses, Hippocrates, Hippocratic medicine, history, HIV, Holocene, Homo erectus, hookworm, horizontal gene transfer, horses, hospitals, houseflies, human evolution, hunter-gathering, hygiene, Ibn Khaldūn, immune system, immunity, imperialism, India, Indian Ocean, Industrial Revolution, industrialisation, infectious diseases, influenza, innate immunity, inoculation, insecticides, Ireland, iron, Iron Age, Italy, jails, Jamaica, Japan, Jared Diamond, Johann Peter Franck, John McNeill, John of Ephesus, John Pringle, Joseph Lister, Justinian plague, leishmaniasis, leprosy, leptospirosis, Levant, lice, liver, London, Louis Pasteur, Louis-René Villermé, lungs, lymphatic filariasis, maize, malaria, Malthusian cycles, Manchus, Mansonia mosquitoes, marmots, mass mortality, Massachusetts, Mayflower (ship), medicine, Mediterranean Sea, mental asylums, Mexico, microbes, microbiology, migration, milk, Ming Dynasty, missionaries, molecular clock, molecular phylogenetics, Mongols, monkeys, morbiliviruses, mortality, mosquitoes, Mughals, mumps, Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleonic wars, Neolithic, Ochlerotatus mosquitoes, Ottoman empire, Ottomans, Pacific Ocean, palaeoanthropology, palaeodemography, palaeogenetics, palaeogenomics, palaeopathology, pandemics, parasites, parasitism, parasitology, paratyphoid fever, Paris, pathogens, Persia, Peru, pharmaceutical drugs, phylogenetics, pigs, plague, plantations, Pleistocene, polio, polio virus, poliomyelitis, Portugal, potato blight, potatoes, poverty, primates, primatology, Princeton University Press, protozoans, public goods, public health, public hygiene, Qing Dynasty, quarantine, quasispecies, rabies, railroads, railways, rats, red water fever, refrigeration, relapsing fever, respiratory infections, rhinoviruses, rice, rinderpest, Robert Koch, rodents, Roman empire, rotaviruses, rubella, Russia, Salmonella, Samuel Pepys, sanitation, SARS-CoV-2, scarlet fever, schistosomiasis, Scotland, sexually transmitted disease (STD), sheep, shigella, shigellosis, sickle cell anemia, skin, slave trade, slavery, sleeping sickness, smallpox, snail fever, snails, Song Dynasty, South America, Spain, Spanish influenza pandemic, squirrels, steamships, sugar, sugarcane, syphilis, Syria, Tang Dynasty, technology, the Enlightenment, The Princeton Economic History of the Western World, Thirty Years' War, Thomas Robert Malthus, Thomas Sydenham, ticks, tobacco, trade, trade routes, transportation, tropical diseases, tsetse flies, tuberculosis, typhoid, typhus, United States, urbanization, vaccination, vaccines, variolation, viral vectors, virology, virulence, viruses, vivax malaria, warfare, water purification, water treatment, wealth, West Indies, whipworm, whooping cough, William McNeill, World Health Organization (WHO), yaws, yellow fever, Yersinia pestis, zoonosis on .
December 20, 2021 8 Comments
Being turned into a zombie is not something most of us worry about. Sure, some of us consider humans metaphorical zombies, controlled by mass media / the government / smartphone addiction / my pet hamster / ________ (
fill in your own favourite 21st-century angst here). All I can say after reading Matt Simon’s book is that I am glad that I am not an insect. In turns gruesome and hilarious, Plight of the Living Dead is a carnival of the many grotesque ways that parasites can control their hosts. Something we do not have to worry about… or do we?
parasitology and tagged animal behaviour, ants, book review, brains, cockroaches, entomology, evolution, free will, fungi, insects, nematodes, neurobiology, neuronal connections, neuroscience, parasites, parasitism, parasitology, pathogens, Penguin Books, pets, popular science, sex, Toxoplasma gondii, toxoplasmosis, Umwelt, viruses, wasps, zombies on .
February 1, 2019 5 Comments