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Human Frontiers, Environments and Disease: Past Patterns, Uncertain Futures

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Overview

Charting the relentless trajectory of humankind across time and geography, Tony McMichael highlights the changing survival patterns of our ancient ancestors, who roamed the African savannahs several million years ago, to today's populous, industrialized, and globalized world. McMichael explores the changes in human biology, culture, and surrounding environments that have influenced patterns of health and disease over the course of humankind's history, arguing that the health of populations is primarily a product of the interaction of human societies with the wider environment, its various ecosystems, and other life-support processes. Tony 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 public health issues. His previous book, Planetary Overload (Cambridge University Press, 1993) was a widely acclaimed and influential account of global environmental change and the health of the human species.

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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 differently....it 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: 9780521803113
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2010
  • Pages: 430
  • Product dimensions: 7.01 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.94 (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

Preface; 1. Disease patterns in human biohistory; 2. Human biology: the Pleistocene inheritance; 3. Adapting to diversity: climate, food and infection; 4. Infectious disease: humans and microbes coevolving; 5. The third horseman: food, farming and famines; 6. The industrial era: the fifth horseman?; 7. Longer lives and lower birth rates; 8. Modern affluence: lands of milk and honey; 9. Cities, social environments and synapses; 10. Global environmental change: overstepping limits; 11. Health and disease: an ecological perspective; 12. Footprints to the future: treading less heavily; Notes; Index.

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