Dorothy H. Crawford

Aug 9, 2018

Deadly Companions

How Microbes Shaped our History

Oxford University Press 2018

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The history of mankind is interlinked with microbes. As humans evolved and became more advanced, microbes evolved right along with us. Through infection, disease, and pandemic they have helped shape human culture and civilization.

In her book Deadly Companions: How Microbes Shaped our History (Oxford University Press, 2018), Dorothy H. Crawford details how changes in the way humans lived, spanning from hunter-gatherer to modern crowding and air travel, have been affected and shaped by the microbes that infect them. She discusses how microbes such as smallpox, flu, and malaria evolved to be so effective. She explores the cause and effect of some of the major epidemics in history such as the Plague of Athens, the Justinian Plague, the Black Death, and even SARS.

Listen to this interview to learn about the history of microbes and their impact on mankind.

Jeremy Corr is the co-host of the hit Fixing Healthcare podcast along with industry thought leader Dr. Robert Pearl. A University of Iowa history alumnus, Jeremy is curious and passionate about all things healthcare, which means he’s always up for a good discussion! Reach him at

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