forget the bird flu, check this out

If, like me, you thought the history of our world was actually the history of ‘war’ then I recommend ‘Rats, Lice and History’ to provide a different view. Written in 1935, Hans Zinsser repeatedly refers to his work as a “biography” of typhus. But it is much more. You learn(among many other things) that certain diseases have destabilized more governments, destroyed more societies, defeated more armies and killed more people than war could even begin to imagine. And pity the poor louse which transmits the bacteria causing typhus. If a louse becomes infected, it also dies in less than two weeks. Other readers warned that it took a few pages to become really interesting and sure enough, somewhere between pages 30-50 I was hooked. Written with full awareness of what was happening in Germany at the time(Hitler, Jews, etc.), Zinsser’s style is anything but pedantic. Who knew a branch of biology could be so entertaining?

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About Marcus

Who me? Introverted, neurotic, self-absorbed, increasingly cynical observer of human nature and part time social critic in hiding. Most of my life spent avoiding growing up. The naive idealistic passions of youth have evolved into the eclectic eccentricities of adulthood. Northeast Florida small-town native, related to people I can't relate to. Simultaneously my own best friend and worst enemy. Politically and spiritually unaffiliated, my personal ideologies put me all over the map or off it completely.
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