Parasites: tales of humanity's most unwelcome guests.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011.
Octavo, paperback, 258 pp. black and white photographs, maps.
Hidden away within living tissues, parasites are all around us - and inside us. Yet, despite their unsavoury characteristics, as we find in this compulsively readable book, parasites have played an enormous role in civilizations through time and around the globe. Puts amoebae, roundworms, tapeworms, mites, and others at the centre of the action as human cultures have evolved and declined. It shows their role in exploration, war, and even terrorist plots, often through an unpredictable ripple effect. It reveals them as invisible threats in our food, water, and luggage; as invaders that have shaped behaviours and taboos; and as unexpected partners in such venues as crime scene investigations. This book also describes their evolution and life histories and considers their significant benefits. Deftly blending the sociological with the scientific, this natural and social history of parasites looks closely at a fascinating, often disgusting group of organisms and discovers that they are in fact an integral thread in the web of life. Also available in hardcover [stock id 31351].