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Rats, Lice and History: being a study in…
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Rats, Lice and History: being a study in biography which deals with the… (edizione 1935)

di H. Zinsser

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5821133,369 (4.13)15
When Rats, Lice and History appeared in 1935, Hans Zinsser was a highly regarded Harvard biologist who had never written about historical events. Although he had published under a pseudonym, virtually all of his previous writings had dealt with infections and immunity and had appeared either in medical and scientific journals or in book format. Today he is best remembered as the author of Rats, Lice, and History, which gone through multiple editions and remains a masterpiece of science writing for a general readership.To Zinsser, scientific research was high adventure and the investigation of infectious disease, a field of battle. Yet at the same time he maintained a love of literature and philosophy. His goal in Rats, Lice and History was to bring science, philosophy, and literature together to establish the importance of disease, and especially epidemic infectious disease, as a major force in human affairs. Zinsser cast his work as the biography of a disease. In his view, infectious disease simply represented an attempt of a living organism to survive. From a human perspective, an invading pathogen was abnormal; from the perspective of the pathogen it was perfectly normal.This book is devoted to a discussion of the biology of typhus and history of typhus fever in human affairs. Zinsser begins by pointing out that the louse was the constant companion of human beings. Under certain conditions-to wash or to change clothing-lice proliferated. The typhus pathogen was transmitted by rat fleas to human beings, who then transmitted it to other humans and in some strains from human to human.Rats, Lice and History is a tour de force. It combines Zinsser's expertise in biology with his broad knowledge of the humanities… (altro)
Utente:TELawrence
Titolo:Rats, Lice and History: being a study in biography which deals with the life history of typhus fever
Autori:H. Zinsser
Info:Boston, Little, Brown
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca
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Rats, Lice and History di Hans Zinsser

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Published in 1944, Zinsser leads you through his avenues of interest (research) in hunt of an understanding of Typhus - he christens the endeavor a biography. Splendid. This is the style of book I want to read (well, minus the side comments on the worth of women and other races/ethnicities).

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Chapter X: More about the louse: the need for this chapter will be apparent to those who have entered into the spirit of this biography

Typhus is not dead. It will live on for centuries, and it will continue to break into the open whenever human stupidity and brutality give it a chance. ( )
  dandelionroots | Apr 18, 2020 |
I must note this as one of my favorite books ever, not because of its content (though I'm a sucker for plagues), but because of Zinsser's voice and narrative style. This was the first book I read where I noticed the author's effort to communicate his passion, and felt addressed across the decades. I've begun more than one deep friendship based only on our relationship to this book, and to my mind, that is the highest recommendation I can make. ( )
3 vota OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
A very witty history of the plague. Loved it! ( )
  hcubic | Jan 27, 2013 |
Even though this book was written at the turn of the previous century, it hasn't become any less interesting or funny. Hans Zinsser has created an eccentric view of history, rambling about rats, typhus, the Roman Empire, lice, and everything. You can't read it in one sitting, because you'll have to keep taking breaks to calm down from the experience. I liked the book because because I learned so much - this book is a classic microbiology textbook among other things. My favorite foonote was associated with a word I'd never heard -- it said, "If the reader does not know the meaning of this word, that is unfortunate." That gives you an inkling of what is in store for you if you choose to read this book. ( )
3 vota jwhenderson | Aug 24, 2011 |
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This book, if it is ever written, and - if written - it finds a publisher, and - if published, anyone reads it, will be recognized with some difficulty as a biography.
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When Rats, Lice and History appeared in 1935, Hans Zinsser was a highly regarded Harvard biologist who had never written about historical events. Although he had published under a pseudonym, virtually all of his previous writings had dealt with infections and immunity and had appeared either in medical and scientific journals or in book format. Today he is best remembered as the author of Rats, Lice, and History, which gone through multiple editions and remains a masterpiece of science writing for a general readership.To Zinsser, scientific research was high adventure and the investigation of infectious disease, a field of battle. Yet at the same time he maintained a love of literature and philosophy. His goal in Rats, Lice and History was to bring science, philosophy, and literature together to establish the importance of disease, and especially epidemic infectious disease, as a major force in human affairs. Zinsser cast his work as the biography of a disease. In his view, infectious disease simply represented an attempt of a living organism to survive. From a human perspective, an invading pathogen was abnormal; from the perspective of the pathogen it was perfectly normal.This book is devoted to a discussion of the biology of typhus and history of typhus fever in human affairs. Zinsser begins by pointing out that the louse was the constant companion of human beings. Under certain conditions-to wash or to change clothing-lice proliferated. The typhus pathogen was transmitted by rat fleas to human beings, who then transmitted it to other humans and in some strains from human to human.Rats, Lice and History is a tour de force. It combines Zinsser's expertise in biology with his broad knowledge of the humanities

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