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, the Romans to Attila the Hun
STDs, sexual behavior, and culture
How microbes may shape cultural cycles of puritanism and promiscuity