Human Frontiers, Environments and Disease: Past Patterns, Uncertain Futures / Edition 1

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This account charts the relentless trajectory of humankind and its changing survival patterns across time and landscape, from when our ancestors roamed the African savannah to today's populous, industrialised, globalising world. This expansion of human frontiers - geographic, climatic, cultural and technological - has entailed many setbacks from disease, famine and depleted resources. The changes in human ecology due to agrarianism, industrialisation, fertility control, social modernisation, urbanisation and modern lifestyles have profoundly affected patterns of health and disease. Today, while life expectancies rise, Earth's ecosystems are being disrupted by the combined weight of population size and intensive consumption. The resultant climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, loss of biodiversity and other environmental changes pose risks to human health, perhaps survival. Recognising how population health, long term, depends on environmental conditions, can we achieve a transition to sustainability?
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...very valuable reading for advanced students, or anyone else interested in the place of humans in the world..." Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society

"This book achieves an unusual and important synthesis of the large-scale evolutionary, social and environmental influences on human health and survival. This ecological perspective, highlighting the history of disease and wellness, the state of our epidemiological environment, and the general impacts of recent cultural trends on well-being, is essential if we are to achieve a sustainable future." Paul R. Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University, and author of Human Natures

"Human Frontiers, Enviornments and Disease is a big, beautiful, and infuriating book that must be read by anyone seriously concerned with the viability of our only planet." Devra Davis, Lancet

"This impressive book by an eminent public health scientist explores our most important relationship: our interaction with the environment. Broad in scope, it is essential reading for all concerned with assuring future human health—and our very survival." Robert Beaglehole, Professor of Public Health, University of Auckland Senior Advisor, Health and Sustainable Development, World Health Organization

"The style is relaxed but succinct: I have seldom encountered a text where the essential points about disease causation were given so pleasantly and effectively within a short paragraph." British Journal of General Practice

"In this book Tony McMichael brings alive this fascinating dimension of history. Here is a book to make us think is a clear, lively, elegantly presented argument of wide scope in which unfamiliar issues are neatly put together. It is a tract for our times." Financial Times

"Outstanding, intellectually stimulating, and with refreshing new ideas, it is a meticulously researched book, with a 36-page bibliography. It merits a prominent place on the bookshelf of policy-makers, researchers, and teachers alike." Global Change and Human Health

"a big, beautiful, and infuriating book that must be read by anyone seriously concerned with the viability of our only planet...important work." Lancet

"The British epidemiologist McMichael takes his readers on a sweeping but accessible excursion covering the relationship between people and diseases since the beginning of civilization."ls Foreign Affairs

"...this book is innovative and important not only because of its subject matter, but also because of the way in which it is addressed. McMichael discusses the major public health issues of today by showing us how we got to where we are now, and synthesizes the large-scale evolutionary, social and environmental influences that have shaped human health over the last few millenia...outstanding..." International Journal of Epidemiology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521004947
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Tony (A. J.) McMichael is Professor of Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He has held positions in Australia, USA and UK, and has taught widely in Asia, Africa and Europe. He has advised WHO, UNEP, the World Bank and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on dietary, environmental and climatic influences on health. He has enthusiasms for palaeoanthropology and social history. His previous book published by Cambridge University Press in 1993 was Planetary Overload (ISBN 0521 55871 9), a widely acclaimed and influential account of global environmental change and the health of the human species.

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Table of Contents

List of sources for illustrations
1 Disease patterns in human biohistory 1
2 Human biology: the Pleistocene inheritance 30
3 Adapting to diversity: climate, food and infection 58
4 Infectious disease: humans and microbes coevolving 88
5 The Third Horseman: food, farming and famines 123
6 The industrial era: the Fifth Horseman? 152
7 Longer lives and lower birth rates 185
8 Modern affluence: lands of milk and honey 220
9 Cities, social environments and synapses 250
10 Global environmental change: overstepping limits 283
11 Health and disease: an ecological perspective 318
12 Footprints to the future: treading less heavily 341
Notes 366
Index 403
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