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Problem URL. Describe the connection issue. SearchWorks Catalog Stanford Libraries. Responsibility David P. Imprint Upper Saddle River, N. Physical description xix, p. Online Available online. Safari Books Online Full view. Green Library. C63 Unknown. More options. Find it at other libraries via WorldCat Limited preview. Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.

Contents Preface xiii Chapter 1: Introduction: our debt to disease 1 Epidemics select genetic alterations 4 Every cloud has a silver lining: our debt to disease 6 Crowding and culling 8 The message of this book 11 Chapter 2: Where did our diseases come from? 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. There's the conflation of hygiene and sanitation throughout, so that he's describing poor sewage facilities but it sounds as if he's blaming individuals for being "dirty".

There's casual sexism that doesn't need to be in there, certainly not without examination, an I give up. There's casual sexism that doesn't need to be in there, certainly not without examination, and a remark that "The Irish suffered most because they had become almost totally dependent on the potato alone" which ignores the role of the ruling British entirely. View all 4 comments. May 01, Robin rated it it was ok Shelves: history , kindle-freebie. The front-line troops in the battle for cleanliness were mostly women.

Since the s, women have gradually abandoned the home and ventured forth to find external employment. Hygiene standards in the home have inevitably relaxed.

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Houses are cleaned less often, laundry is done less often, and both are done less thoroughly. Despite the outbreaks in fast-food restaurants that hit the headlines, most foodborne disease actually occurs in the home and goes unreported. Indeed, the author does at least admit that most foodborne diseases go unreported but this means there is no evidence to support his ridiculous claims.

Despite being full of useful information, passages like this unfortunately cause me to question the respectability and intent of the book as a whole. Fortunately, I did not pay anything for it - it was a Kindle freebie once upon a time. May 04, Brenda rated it liked it Shelves: challies This was pretty interesting, but, even though I'm not a big reader of footnotes, I would have liked for the author to have cited sources for the information he presented as fact.

Aug 06, Frances rated it it was amazing. This book is a fascinating and sometimes humorous look at how disease has changed humans both biologically and socially. The history of the world is brief, but informative. This book is best enjoyed if you have some knowledge of world history and disease, especially since many disease discussed are a bit obscure or irrelevant today. I am not one to highlight books, but this book has so many great passages that I made great use of my Kindle's highlight function with this one.

Germs, Genes, and Bacteria

Some of my favorit This book is a fascinating and sometimes humorous look at how disease has changed humans both biologically and socially. Some of my favorite passages: "Mother Nature has no maternal instincts. Jul 27, Doreen rated it really liked it. Quite enjoyed this. It's popular science at its finest, and as such can be a bit glib at times, but it points out several compelling truths about the relationship between the human race and the smallest living things.

Mr Clark sounds a few interesting warnings, though since I was already inclined to agree with his positions before reading this book, I have not had my worldview altered. Here's hoping those who come from a different perspective take heed of what he says, though.

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May 30, Donna rated it it was ok Shelves: science , read-in This book had some interesting factoids but was very repetitive and extremely disorganized. It didn't break any new ground and the sections on AIDS and religion were rife with illogical conjectures.

If I hadn't been reading it on a Kindle I would have thrown the book across the room. The first half or so I gave 3 stars, the last quarter 1 star. I'm averaging it out to a 2 but I would not recommend this book to anyone. Aug 27, Julie rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction.

Currently reading this book. I am only about halfway through but am finding it fascinating. Of course, the fact that I was a microbiology major has nothing to do with my interest level! The content is quite dry but the author draws very interesting conclusions about the impact of disease on all of human history. Nov 15, G Eliya rated it it was ok. Well, what can I say. Informative from the microbiological point of view yes, but have some problems: 1.

The author has a big love to Islam and points everywhere how great it is, which isn't bad, but he goes against some historical facts. First of all it isn't the first monotheistic religion. Author use to blame women, that they lef Well, what can I say. Author use to blame women, that they left their houses so hygienic level fell down.

So generally said I have a strange feeling from reading it. Sep 08, Jen rated it did not like it Shelves: dnf. I should have listened to the other reviewers and not even started this book, as it was a complete waste of time. I got to p. Just goes to show that just because you're smart and can write, doesn't mean you should publish a book. This scientist should stick to scientific journals, and leave books to the story-tellers. Feb 19, Rama rated it it was amazing Shelves: biology , evolution , ecology.

The role of viruses, bacteria and infectious diseases on human evolution This is an excellent review of various infectious diseases that have shaped the history of human beings. Many cultures and the whole populations were impacted from the very beginning of our civilization or perhaps when Homo sapiens set foot on this planet. The author gives specific examples in our history and describes how diseases have played a role in the eventual determination of who we are today. One could see disease-ca The role of viruses, bacteria and infectious diseases on human evolution This is an excellent review of various infectious diseases that have shaped the history of human beings.

One could see disease-caused human fatality as a tragedy to an individual or a family but it has long term advantage in evolution, if we apply Darwinism to human diseases. Genetic changes as a response to infectious disease makes us more resistant to infections. Such changes may also contribute to our physical characteristics, brain functions and development.

The book is described in 11 chapters that include separate chapters on spread of virulent forms of bacteria and genetic resistance, origin of human disease, the decline of water supply and sewers that caused the fall of kingdoms and empires, pestilence and warfare, and emerging diseases of the future. Many human diseases originated from animals, but not all bacteria are bad for health.

The human gut provides a home for great number of bacteria.

How Do Microorganisms Become Dangerous Pathogens has been added

Majority of them are harmless and some are beneficial by aiding digestion, synthesis of certain vitamins, defending their habitat against more infectious forms of bacteria. Diseases like gonorrhea and syphilis caused by bacteria , and measles, mumps, influenza caused by viruses , and Ebola virus have evolved to become milder. Some diseases became extinct like the sweating sickness that erupted in London in The author describes many historical facts hat makes the book even more interesting.

The demise of Indus valley civilization around B. One of them is the Aryan invasion from Europe. But the author suggests that cholera is more likely cause of human fatalities in Indus Valley. The diarrhea causing bacteria existed in India B. C to B. The local rivers were completely dried and the sewer system collapsed that may have led the spread of infections faster. This is certainly an interesting theory but genetic archeology has to answer these questions conclusively. The author also suggests that spread of malaria may be one of the main factors in the collapse of Roman Empire.

After this, a decline in hygiene all over Europe resulted in the spread of diseases like typhoid, bacterial dysentery, and rotavirus all of which share diarrhea like symptoms that were spread by the contamination of water with sewer system. Early in the fifth century the Huns, led by Attila almost conquered the Roman Empire but withdrew because he and his army were apparently infected by virulent epidemic of dysentery.

If this barbarian had succeeded in Rome, the history of Europe would have been different. Cystic fibrosis mutation is common in north-western Europe, population genetics and mutation rates suggest that these mutations arose shortly after the collapse of Roman Empire when general hygiene was poor and water borne intestinal disease spread rapidly.

In AD, a smallpox epidemic in Japan caused significant deaths. Measles was the Great Plague of Athens in B. It is interesting to note that the history of humans would have been different if infectious diseases had not been present or if genetics resistance to virulence did not exist. Culturally and biologically we would have been different. Basically this should have been a 4 star book, a book about how bacteria and viruses have been the root cause and catalyst of so much of humanity's history.

Because of his mastery of the material and obvious research, this book could have been so much more! I can't help but wonder if much of this could have been accomplished by an amazing editor. A great idea would be to totally restructure the book as a "history" of the world and humanity, so readers are taken thru a journey of how germs and disease shaped up over the centuries. Even some infographic-style illustrations - a more micro one and one for each chapter or epoch - would have helped.

As it is, it was sort of tons and tons of pieces that felt thrown together and gave you the feeling of "been here" before over and over. Overall, the book was very uneven. I felt that many of the passages dealing with biology were shallow YMMV; I am a biomedical engineer, and I like lots and lots and lots of biology. The book did have a lot of interesting nuggets of information, though. I'd like to see what a better writer could have done with the material. This "shaping" happens on two levels: first, bacteria, viruses, prions, fungi and other sources of nasty epidemics change the human population itself, right down to the genes we carry today.

Diseases like tuberculosis, influenza, measles and even smallpox became much less virulent over time. The people who were vulnerable to the diseases died witho "Germs, Genes and Civilization" is a fascinating, thought-provoking survey of "how epidemics shaped who we are today" in the words of the subtitle. The people who were vulnerable to the diseases died without children, while the lucky ones with some degree of immunity passed their genetic good fortune on to future generations, thus increasing widespread resistance to the disease over the centuries.

On the other side of the table, pathogens tended gradually to become less deadly: those that promptly killed their hosts didn't spread far and soon burned out. The surviving pathogens tended to be those that made the human host sick but not so sick that he or she didn't survive for awhile to spread the disease. The defenses that our bodies have evolved sometime become problems on their own--the genes that offer some protection from malaria can cause sickle-cell anemia, and those that confer protection from deadly diarrheal diseases can result in cystic fibrosis.

The second kind of shaping occurs on a macro level. The Black Death that ravaged Western Europe beginning around laid the groundwork for the Reformation, the Enlightenment and capitalism, albeit at a horrific cost in human life. That, in turn, led to the growth of the African slave trade. Even today, the spread of AIDs in Africa is creating fertile ground for the expansion of a puritanical version of Islam. Clark is a bit dry at times, but his explanations are clear and his book is filled with surprising revelations.

It's sobering to realize that the Humble Microbe has had far more influence on the course of human history than any Great Man or Woman. Feb 21, Michelle In Libris Veritas rated it liked it Shelves: freebies , kindle , nonfiction , science , history.

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The book Genes, Germs and Civilzation by David Clark is an in depth look at how the diseases and illnesses of our past and present have shaped our lives in most aspects. Overall it was a fairly interesting look into how disease and illness has actually shaped our lives over the course of our history.

I originally picked this up because it was free on Amazon for the kindle and knowing it was a high priced book otherwise I took the chance one it. I'm glad I did. There are a lot of things included The book Genes, Germs and Civilzation by David Clark is an in depth look at how the diseases and illnesses of our past and present have shaped our lives in most aspects. There are a lot of things included that I personally didn't know and to see how these small miniscule things caused such huge impacts on human history is really cool, and very eye opening.

One of my favorite quotes from this is : "Mother Nature has no maternal instincts. I thought the writing was good and while at times it's pretty text book like, there are moments where that kind of breaks and becomes slightly informal. But it's not terribly distracting. Some parts were fairly repetitive though and made the book seem a lot longer then it actually is and it drags, and other areas the author seem to be almost criticizing someone or something. Other then those instances it was pretty straightforward with interesting instances where disease has actually helped us in the overall outlook despite the devastation it caused at the time.

It might take some time to get through though, it wasn't something that I could sit down and read for hours. I had to take breaks and read other things, so it took me weeks to get through the whole thing. I would recommend this to those who really enjoy non-fiction based around science and history, especially you enjoy reading about microbiology, diseases and things of that nature.

May 17, Robert rated it really liked it. Clark available from Amazon. David has prepared an exhaustive study of the impact of disease on society and culture. He has provided clear and verifiable answers to many mysteries which have confounded historians and scientists in other disciplines. One of my favorites of these answers is an explanation for Attila the Hun's sudden decision not to attack Rome when it appeared he could easily have taken it.

Disease and pestilence may have fended off more attacking armies than brilliant military strategies. The science is good, but it is not often so technical that the average person can not understand it. I was a science major forty years ago, but I had no trouble following all the major concepts.

Most of us think of evolution in terms of millennial spans of time. As David points out, diseases evolve in as little as a few generations. Germs evolve quickly. Small organisms change much faster in response to environmental pressure than large ones do. As this book points out over and over, ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is hazardous not only to your health, but to the health of everyone around you. Ignorance and mis-information are tools used by the powerful against the powerless. Education, sanitary conditions and proper hygiene are a population's best defenses against those that would seek to do them ill.

Ignore this book at your peril. Aug 28, Trisha rated it it was ok Shelves: read-on-kindle , read I consider finishing this book my own personal triumph. It took me over 6 months to read. The first quarter of the book was interesting, fluid, and informative. The last three quarters were repetitive, disorganized, and clearly slanted towards atheism. While I whole-heartedly believe in every individuals right to believe in any religion or lack of religion they choose, I do not think it was necessary for a book about disease and bacteria.

The organization of the information in this book was mind I consider finishing this book my own personal triumph.

The organization of the information in this book was mind boggling. Perhaps it was written as more of a text book and the chapters coincide with lesson plans. However as a read from start to finish it is near impossible to connect together. I feel the author may have known this issue existed because he often references earlier chapters of the book along with a link to those chapters on kindle.

I did not realize I had switched locations until I saw the percentage on my Kindle. In summation, although the information presented in the book was interesting, the layout and repetition made it difficult to read and connect. If the book was reorganized and thus repetition unneeded I would consider recommending it. As it stands, save yourself the agony. This was an interesting book, looking at the effect of infections on civilisation and our genetic background. Discussing a multitude of plagues, both epidemic and pandemic, throughout history the author gave some novel at least to me views on the effect of them including the effect on the Black Death on technological advances and that of diseases on religious belief through the ages.

The author also looked at the effect of disease on armies, invasions and war. I have to admit, I disagreed with This was an interesting book, looking at the effect of infections on civilisation and our genetic background. I have to admit, I disagreed with some of the things in the book.

Some of the author's views seemed a little too high and mighty for my taste.