Hans Zinsser (November 17, – September 4, ) was an American physician, for Nonfiction voted by members of the American Booksellers Association. He is remembered especially for his book, Rats, Lice, and History. Rats, Lice and History by Hans Zinsser, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. Available in: Paperback. When Rats, Lice and History appeared in , Hans Zinsser was a highly regarded Harvard biologist who had never.

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I think my grandmother gave it to me because she thought the title was amusing. Entertaining and fascinating read. How much physical hardship and moral confusion rzts be avoided if a similar arrangement among us could postpone sexual maturity until stimulated by an internal secretion from the fully established intellectual and moral convulsions of the brain!

Bacteria nourish plans; plants nourish man and beast. The idea of a disease as being like a single organism that spans space and time in a single body and has always been with us is irresistible.

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Grob is the Henry E. Jul 01, Daphne rated it it was amazing. Zinnser’s romp through the ancient and modern worlds describes how epidemics devastated the Byzantines under Justinian, put Charles V atop the Holy Roman Empire, stopped the Turks at the Carpathians, and turned Napolean’s “Grand ArmEe “back from Moscow.

He convincingly argues that most wars in history have had more fatalities due to disease than those caused nistory the battlefield, and that many famous battles and wars were dramatically changed due to the influence of diseases.

This has been, either perfect or to some extent, achieved by ants and by bees, by some birds, and by some of the fishes in hostory sea. Intriguingly fascinating and entertaining reading for anyone who is interested in how zinssed copes with catastrophe and pain. Generally the Greek and Latin are translated or explained. Yet popular science it certainly is – his attempt to avoid the label seems to be because it was somewhat despised as a type of writing by academics in the s when this book was written – and Zinsser wanted to make this This classic of popular science has just had a welcome reissue.


RATS, LICE AND HISTORY by Hans Zinsser | Kirkus Reviews

He isolated the typhus bacterium and developed a protective vaccine. Though this may have been relatively groundbreaking when it was written, the adn matter is now well covered. He sprinkles medical terms throughout, but acknowledges that getting too technical would be boring.

Lice get their own chapter, verging on lousy praise, as do rats.

Hans Zinsser

Informative, funny–Zinnser is very familiar and chatty; laughs at himself while you learn about a whole lot of stuff, including nasty typhus. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies. Its implied subject matter does not seem to command the interest of the layman the history — or as he says, the biography of typhusbut the method and the manner are so breezy, original and touched throughout with humor, that it may well catch the public curiosity and interest.

Theory historu Economic Development Joseph A. Trivia About Rats, Lice, and H Hardcoverpages. Civilizations have retreated from the plasmodium of malaria, and armies have crumbled into rabbles under the onslaught of cholera spirilla, or of dysentery and typhoid bacilli.

Jul 02, Glenn rated it liked it. Albert Einstein, German-born physicist ilce developed the special and historry theories of relativity and…. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine.

The book ratx a biography of typhus, written by the biologist who isolated the disease. This bountifully discursive romp through a pestilential history was a really enjoyable read. He does, however, insert foreign phrases from French, Zinssser, and Spanish that he does not translate context will carry the reader through. He was ahns the Distinguished Service Medalthe citation for which read as follows “For exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services– while acting as Sanitation Inspector of the Second Army he organized, perfected and administered with extraordinary and exceptional success a plan of military sanitation rat epidemic-disease control.

Jan 31, Victoria rated it it was amazing. Zinsser taught as an exchange professor and worked with the American Red Cross in France, Russia, Serbia and China, and was noted for his work in typhus and immunology.

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It seemed like an appropriate thing zimsser read, as it had to deal with sickness and it was the kind of boring subject that is pleasant to read when one is stuck in bed and going nowhere. After many non-sequitors about a variety of topics, the author finally gets around to explaining, in engaging, lucid detail, why human history is actually the history of bacterias, viruses, fleas, lice, and, yes, the occasional rat.


Huge areas have bee devastated by the trypanosome that travels on the wings of the tsetse fly, and generations have been harassed by the syphilis of a courtier.

Rats, Lice and History : Hans Zinsser :

But — in the course of definitely scientific marshalling of facts, he shows how typhus has won and lost seiges, even whole wars, has changed the face of the world, has played its part at almost every step of historical development.

Book ratings by Goodreads. I started this book in a serious mood, expecting to be informed about the progression and history of a serious disease. I say popular sinsser, but Hans Zinsser regularly claims his book is nothing of the sort, as ‘we detest and have endeavoured to avoid [popular science]’.

Rats, Lice and History

The only faults I had with it are there are sometimes no translations of long passages in another language perhaps the average reading public knew more languages than I do back then and it can be quite repetitive, though pleasantly repetitive, and the chronological order of events is totally bananas Dr. Thus the low rating. There was a problem with your submission.

So off-topic, but the author is aware of how off-topic he is, “This, we promise, is the last serious digression from our main theme” It is not At multiple points, he feels that so much extraneous matter is related to his subject that he nad starts giving a list of random historical events with no explanation of their connection.

Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. Such is Zinsser’s enthusiasm to underline this more arty, biographical approach, he spends the first couple of chapters not talking about typhus, but rather the range of the arts and sciences, their relationship and the point of biography.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books abd want to read. Wood Albert Balows Frederick C.