Product Description Respected science writer Arno Karlen presents a dramatic panorama of the natural history of disease. Drawing on case studies and tales of medical detection, he uncovers the ills of ancient hunter-gatherers, exposes the origins of modern urban epidemics, and probes the most recent medical reports of mysterious new diseases.
Amazon.com Review Whereas many popular books on microbes focus on contemporary pathogens and emerging epidemics, Arno Karlen's Man and Microbes provides a historical look at the coevolution of humans and microorganisms. Karlen speculates that infections are integral to the process of life itself, that the mitochondria in every animal cell, for instance, are likely descendants of infectious agents. He then traces the development of man from primitive hunter-gatherer to urban dweller to world traveler, pointedly analyzing how socio-ecological changes have contributed to the changing incidence of disease. With amazing detail, Karlen describes the origins of historical plagues (smallpox, cholera, influenza, polio, and others) as well as the emergence of scourges such as hemorrhagic fever (Ebola and its cousins), Lyme disease, Legionnaires' disease, and even the deep mysteries of retroviruses such as HIV.