Man and Germs
L’Homme et les microbes is an exhaustive analysis of the history of germs: from the discovery of microbes in 1674, to their neglect by scholars, to the initial theories on infectious diseases, to the Pasteurian revolution.
Reminiscent of Zinsser’s classic, Rats, Lice and History , Pierre Darmon’s study covers scientific discoveries and infectious diseases, from the Plague to Mad Cow and Legionnaire’s disease. The subjects of this fascinating examination range from human excrement to air pollution and beer fermentation. It is of interest not only factually, but as a reminder of how profoundly the world has changed in the course of the last centuries. Darmon also sheds light on the sobering fact that many of the horrifying conditions he describes from a century ago still hold true for the vast majority of the world’s population.
Pierre Darmon : Pierre Darmon is director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. He is the author of books on the history of sexuality, smallpox, cancer and criminal anthropology. He recently published a biography of Pasteur (Fayard, 1995).