Germs, Genes, & Civilization: How Epidemics Shaped Who We Are Today

  • by David P. Clark
  • Narrated by Summer McStravick
  • 8 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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What the Critics Say

"With wit and humor, the author turns death, an ever-heavy topic, into an engrossing exploration of the course of mankind." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great content, shame about the voice...

For those who believe that real history is made by "the little people" at least as much if not far more than by kings and generals, this book shows just how little - microscopic in fact - can be the real history-makers. For anyone who is squeamish, this book poses quite a challenge - the gory details of how you die from jus about any infectious disease you care to name are laid out here. All in all, I had a hunch that the history of germs was worth getting into and was not in the least disappointed. APART from the fact that you need to overlook the fact that the american narrator has virtually no feel whatsoever for words not found on the New York subway. The river that runs thru London (as featured in the black death) is apparently called the Taymess. The hordes who came out of Asia and helped to overrun the Roman empire were "tayters" (presumably of Irish extraction). i could go on and on. But after wondering why oh why the production company chose such a crass reader, I was able to get back to the history, which is grisly but fun.
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- Steven

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-12-2011
  • Publisher: Pearson