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From the Publisher
"Zinsser's account of lice and men remains a delight. Written in 1935 as a latter-day variation on Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Zinsser's book gives a picaresque account of how the history of the world has been shaped by epidemics of louseborne typhus.....Zinnser's romp through the ancient and modern worlds describes how epidemics devastated the Byzantines under Justinian, put Charles V atop the Holy Roman Empire, stopped the Turks at the Carpathians, and turned Napolean's Grand Armée back from Moscow."
—Gerald Weissmann, Emerging Infectious Diseases
"This book... is listed among the best sellers. The style is delightful, and the subject matter very interesting... [It gives an] account of man's defeats and victories against epidemics... Those who have read Dr. Zinsser's articles will enjoy this book, and to otehrs it will be a pleasant surprise."
—Elizabeth Hard, The American Journal of Nursing
"No one who buys this book will feel cheated."
—H. M. Parshley, Nation
"This book will surely be studied with great interest by the lay reader... [I]t presents "a fascinating blend of scientific and historical research, humour, and stimulating opinion."
—The British Medical Journal
“I had the fun of editing Hans’s book Rats, Lice and History, that unique account of what infectious diseases had done to change the fate of nations.”
—Edward Weeks, The Atlantic