Rats, Lice and History: A Chronicle of Disease, Plagues, and Pestilenceby Hans Zinsser
The classic chronicle of the impact disease and plagues have had on history and society over the past half-millennium. Intriguingly fascinating and entertaining reading for anyone who is interested in how society copes with catastrophe and pain. Relevant today in face of the worldwide medical calamity of AIDS. Continuously in print since its first publication in
The classic chronicle of the impact disease and plagues have had on history and society over the past half-millennium. Intriguingly fascinating and entertaining reading for anyone who is interested in how society copes with catastrophe and pain. Relevant today in face of the worldwide medical calamity of AIDS. Continuously in print since its first publication in 1934, with over 75 printings.
- Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.78(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.16(d)
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When Rats, Lice and History was published in 1935, Hans Zinsser was a highly regarded Harvard biologist who had never written about historical events. Although he had published under a false name, most of his previous writings had dealt with infectious diseases and had appeared either in scientific journals or in books. Today he is best remembered as the author of Rats, Lice and History, which remains a masterpiece of scientific writing for most readers. To Zinsser, scientific research, bacteriology and epidemiology, was his life. Yet at the same time he maintained a love of literature. His goal in Rats, Lice and History was to bring science and literature together to show the importance of infectious diseases as a major factor in human life. Zinsser cast his work as the "biography" of Typhus, with which his book is about. In his view, infectious disease simply represents an attempt of a living organism to survive. From a human perspective, an invading pathogen is absurd; from the perspective of the pathogen it is perfectly normal. This book is devoted to the biology of typhus and history of typhus fever and human reactions to it. Zinsser begins by pointing out that the pathogen was a constant companion of human beings. Under certain conditions,failure to wash or to change clothing that was infected with lice. Typhus was transmitted by fleas to human beings, who then transmitted it to other humans. Rats, Lice, and History combines Zinsser's expertise in bacteriology and epidemiology with his broad knowledge of humanity.
Its really hard to find any good books anymore. Especially books that are worth reading again and again. 'Rats, Lice, and History' goes above and beyond, despite its grueling topic. Hans Zinsser does an excellent job educating us about all of these different diseases and their effect on society, while keeping the voice cool. Not being too gruesome, and not keeping it boring either. Overall, 'Rats, Lice, and History" is an excellent book that, despite its old age, keeps its enjoyment throughout the ages. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone, except for young children, of course.