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Diseases and Human Evolution

Narrated by: J. D. Smith Jr.
Length: 18 hrs and 7 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)
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Publisher's Summary

Recent interest in new diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and Ebola, and the resurgence of older diseases like tuberculosis has fostered questions about the history of human infectious diseases. How did they evolve? Where did they originate? What natural factors have stalled the progression of diseases or made them possible? How does a microorganism become a pathogen? How have infectious diseases changed through time? What can we do to control their occurrence?

Ethne Barnes offers answers to these questions, using information from history and medicine as well as from anthropology. She focuses on changes in the patterns of human behavior through cultural evolution and how they have affected the development of human diseases.

In a clear, lively style, Barnes offers general overviews of every variety of disease and their carriers, from insects and worms through rodent vectors to household pets and farm animals. She devotes whole chapters to major infectious diseases such as leprosy, syphilis, smallpox, and influenza. Other chapters concentrate on categories of diseases ("gut bugs", for example, including cholera, typhus, and salmonella). The final chapters cover diseases that have made headlines in recent years, among them mad cow disease, West Nile virus, and Lyme disease.

In the tradition of Berton Roueché, Hans Zinsser, and Sherwin Nuland, Ethne Barnes answers questions you never knew you had about the germs that have threatened us throughout human history.

The book is published by University of New Mexico Press.

©2005 University of New Mexico Press (P)2015 Redwood Audiobooks

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent audiobook. Loved every minute.

This book never ceased to interest me.
Very in depth and straight to point in regards to how humans and human culture have 'stirred the microbial pot'resulting in the spread of disease. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in pathology, epidemiology and anthropology.

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  • Megan
  • 08-01-2016

Great content, truly terrible performance

The subject matter and writing are great, but the reader sounds like the digitized monotone of your GPS. It's actually very difficult to listen to, and whomever selected this particular gentleman to read has done the author a terrible disservice. Recommend listening to a sample to see if you can get past the dreadful narration before committing to the purchase.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • prodarwin
  • 21-01-2018

Book ruined by the reader

Would you try another book from Ethne Barnes and/or J. D. Smith Jr.?

I am fascinated by the topic and have now bought the book in written form. I can't really say how I feel about the book until I've read it.

Were the concepts of this book easy to follow, or were they too technical?

It was extremely difficult to overcome the awful mispronunciations and cadence at which the reader dashed through the book. It didn't seem to be too technical at all and the concepts were straight up.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

This writer should demand the book be reissued by Audible because this reader was the worst I have ever encountered.

Was Diseases and Human Evolution worth the listening time?

I was driven to distraction by this reader. Wish I had listened to a sample or read the reviews of the reader given by others.

Any additional comments?

Dreadful, awful, terrible reader. He should stick with his day job. Honestly, I did not want to write such a negative review about the reader but some people will blame the book's author for the tedious drone of mispronunciations. Better yet, he should get himself down to the Caribbean and let them illustrate how to speak the English language with some lovely inflection!!!! If I had to hear hemoglobin mispronounced one more time I was afraid I would wreck the car!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jon M. Wilson
  • 26-03-2016

Boring and difficult to understand

This is a topic for which I am interested, and one in which I have listened to extensively. Unfortunately, this audio book did not deliver. The text is very technical, making it dry. And the reader sounds like he has cotton balls in his mouth. Very distracting. Overall, my recommendation is to skip this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • JDS
  • 06-10-2018

The reading style makes concentrating difficult

This book requires and deserves concentration but the robotic cadence of the (I’m sure) well-intentioned reader is so distracting that I have to put it aside.