• Plagues upon the Earth

  • Disease and the Course of Human History
  • By: Kyle Harper
  • Narrated by: Tim Fannon
  • Length: 19 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (62 ratings)

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Plagues upon the Earth

By: Kyle Harper
Narrated by: Tim Fannon
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Publisher's Summary

How pathogenic microbes have been an intimate part of human history from the beginning - and how our deadliest germs and biggest pandemics are the product of our success as a species.

Plagues upon the Earth is a monumental history of humans and their germs. Weaving together a grand narrative of global history with insights from cutting-edge genetics, Kyle Harper explains why humanity’s uniquely dangerous disease pool is rooted deep in our evolutionary past, and why its growth is accelerated by technological progress. He shows that the story of disease is entangled with the history of slavery, colonialism, and capitalism, and reveals the enduring effects of historical plagues all around us, in patterns of wealth, health, power, and inequality. He also tells the story of humanity’s escape from infectious disease - a triumph that makes life as we know it possible, yet destabilizes the environment and fosters new diseases.

Panoramic in scope, Plagues upon the Earth traces role of disease in the transition to farming, the spread of cities, the advance of transportation, and the stupendous increase in human numbers. Harper offers a new interpretation of humanity’s path to control over infectious disease - one where rising evolutionary threats constantly push back against human progress, and where the devastating effects of modernization contribute to the great divergence between societies. The book reminds us that human health is globally interdependent - and inseparable from the well-being of the planet itself.

Putting the COVID-19 pandemic in perspective, Plagues upon the Earth tells the story of how we got here as a species, and it may help us decide where we want to go.

©2021 Kyle Harper (P)2021 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Plagues upon the Earth

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Waste of time...endless dribble.

Author is to busy trying to sound intelligent, Narrator mechanically does his best. Use it to put yourself to sleep.

5 people found this helpful

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Horrific narration

The narrator ruins this. I’m sorry to be so harsh, but he’s not smart enough to be presenting this material. I lost count of the mispronunciations, which are extremely jarring. I have to imagine the author was shocked when he heard this. They need to try again.

1 person found this helpful

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Astounding

Brilliantly written and performed. Just the history alone is worth the listen. A tale of human survival and suffering.

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Impressive compilation by accomplished historian

As the most important third of guns, germs, and steel, Kyle Harper's book is a fascinating and comprehensive compilation of the natural history of the viruses, bacteria, protists, and helminths that affect every organism on the planet, especially certain of us primates.

(Helminths btw are worms and I should add that parts "Plagues" are definitely not for the squeamish.)