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Viruses, Plagues, and History
ISBN 0195134222 / 9780195134223 / 0-19-513422-2
Publisher Oxford University Press, USA
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Had it not been for viruses, the U.S. and Canada might today be one country; the African slave trade may not have been as extensive; and the Spanish almost certainly wouldn't have conquered the Aztecs and other New World native peoples. In fact, viruses have affected world history more extensively than most of us can imagine. Viruses, Plagues, & History not only shows us what viruses are and how they work, but looks at what newer ones such as Ebola and HIV might mean to our future. Even more frightening, Oldstone discusses the influenza virus of 1918 to 1919--which may have killed as many as 50 million people worldwide and certainly helped England, France, and the U.S. defeat Germany in World War I--and wonders if it's due for a return visit. Granted, a book with a chapter titled "Mad Cow Disease and Englishmen: Spongiform Encephalopathies--Virus or Prion Disease?" isn't for everybody, but it's a fascinating for anyone interested in health and wellness and the medical future of our planet. [via]