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.
From the Back Cover
“Clear, thoughtful, and thought-provoking, Germs, Genes & Civilizationmakes 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 & Civilizationis 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