Pathogenesis: How germs made history

Popular Science
Hardback Published on: 13/04/2023
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Humans did not make history - we played host. According to the accepted narrative of progress, a few great humans have bent the arc of history. But in this revelatory book, Dr Jonathan Kennedy argues that germs have done more to shape humanity at every stage, from the first success of Homo sapiens over the equally intelligent Neanderthals to the fall of Rome and the rise of Islam. How did an Indonesian volcano help cause the Black Death, setting Europe on the road to capitalism? How could 168 men extract the largest ransom in history from an opposing army of eighty thousand? And why did the Industrial Revolution lead to the birth of the modern welfare state? The latest science reveals that infectious diseases are not just something that happens to us, but a fundamental part of who we are. Indeed, the only reason humans don't lay eggs is that a virus long ago inserted itself into our DNA, and there are as many bacteria in your body as there are human cells. We have been thinking about the survival of the fittest all wrong: evolution is not simply about human strength and intelligence, but about how we live and thrive in a world dominated by microbes.

  • Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • ISBN: 9781911709053
  • Number of pages: 384
  • Weight: 629g
  • Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 35 mm

Customer Reviews

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It’s a microbial world and we’re all living in it.
I think this book would have appealed to me before the pandemic but of course now that we’ve all been affected by the spread of disease it holds even more ... READ MORE
Anne O'Connell
brilliant and thought provoking
What a brilliant book! The writer has a really accessible style; without being patronising he explains his ideas really well so that non scientists like m... READ MORE
Absolutely fascinating and informative
What an excellent book. All the reader needs is a little enthusiasm and desire to read about the history of pathogens and they’re set. I thoroughly enjoye... READ MORE
Gillian Frost
One more reason why the world is the way it is today
Pathogenesis is a highly-readable and entertaining gallop through the role pathogens played at key points in world history and how their influence still so... READ MORE
Desmond Carbery
2020 made the whole modern world face a reawakening to the threat of plagues and pandemics, yet this book reveals the bare truth, that our entire history o... READ MORE
Gem Fletcher
One of the best researched books I've ever read. I love microbiology and was drawn to Pathogenesis immediately. I loved the petri dishes cover and the titl... READ MORE
Ania Kierczynska
Pathogens is is the history of germs in essence. The author Jonathan Kennedy is a teacher of global health at a London university so he should know what he... READ MORE
Cecilia Weston-Baker
This book is one of the great reads of modern non-fiction that explain our history, all the way back to the dawn of life. In my opinion this book is as sig... READ MORE
Alejandro Balbastro
Completely enthralling
The relationship between pathogens and their hosts is explored here, particularly how it can be argued that the development of human society can be linked ... READ MORE
Jo-anne Atkinson
An interesting journey through the timeline of human development with microbiological organisms, volcanoes and the little ice age making its mark on human ... READ MORE