The mosquito A human history of our deadliest predator

Timothy C. 1977- Winegard

Book - 2019

Why was gin and tonic the cocktail of choice for British colonists in India and Africa? What does Starbucks have to thank for its global domination? What has protected the lives of popes for millennia? Why did Scotland surrender its sovereignty to England? What was George Washington's secret weapon during the American Revolution? The answer to all these questions, and many more, is the mosquito. Across our planet since the dawn of humankind, this nefarious pest, roughly the size and weight ...of a grape seed, has been at the frontlines of history as the grim reaper, the harvester of human populations, and the ultimate agent of historical change. As the mosquito transformed the landscapes of civilization, humans were unwittingly required to respond to its piercing impact and universal projection of power. The mosquito has determined the fates of empires and nations, razed and crippled economies, and decided the outcome of pivotal wars, killing nearly half of humanity along the way. She (only females bite) has dispatched an estimated 52 billion people from a total of 108 billion throughout our relatively brief existence. As the greatest purveyor of extermination we have ever known, she has played a greater role in shaping our human story than any other living thing with which we share our global village.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Dutton, An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC [2019]
Language
English
Physical Description
x, 486 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 449-461) and index.
ISBN
9781524743413
1524743410
Main Author
Timothy C. 1977- Winegard (author)
  • Introduction
  • Toxic twins: The mosquito and her diseases
  • Survival of the fittest: Fever demons, footballs, and sickle cell safeties
  • General Anopheles: From Athens to Alexander
  • Mosquito legions: Fhe rise and fall of the Roman Empire
  • Unrepentant mosquitoes: A crisis of faiths and the Crusades
  • Mosquito hordes: Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire
  • The Columbian exchange: Mosquitoes and the global village
  • Accidental conquerors: African slavery and the mosquito's annexation of the Americas
  • The seasoning: Mosquito landscapes, mythology, and the seeds of America
  • Rogues in a nation: The mosquito and the creation of Greater Britain
  • The crucible of disease: Colonial wars and a new world order
  • Unalienable bites: The American Revolution
  • Mercenary mosquitoes: Wars of liberation and the making of the Americas
  • Mosquitoes of Manifest Destiny: Cotton, slavery, Mexico, and the American South
  • Sinister angels of our nature: The American Civil War
  • Unmasking the mosquito: Disease and imperialism
  • This is Ann: She's dying to meet you : the Second World War, Dr. Seuss, and DDT
  • Silent springs and superbugs: The mosquito renaissance
  • The modern mosquito and her diseases: At the gates of extinction
  • Conclusion.
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Winegard (The First World Oil War), a Colorado Mesa University history and political science professor, delivers an adequate, Western-centric world history focused on the part played by mosquitoes and mosquito-borne disease. He begins by introducing the Anopheles and Aedes species and the yellow fever and variants of malaria that they spread. Winegard then marches forward through history, highlighting events (generally wars) he sees as affected by the insects. When armies suffer enormous casualties due to disease, as they did in ancient Greece or colonial wars in the Caribbean, this connection is obvious and easily acceptable. Other connections are more tenuous, as when Winegard seems to give mosquitoes some credit for the Magna Carta. Further weak points include anthropomorphizing references to the subject which cast mosquitoes as mercenaries, generals, or allies in human conflicts, and occasional indulgence in alliteration ("a marshy morass and a minefield of malarial mosquitoes"). Winegard covers both major points, such as how 18th-century geopolitics were reshaped by the huge losses which malaria and yellow fever inflicted on European troops in the Americas, and trivia, such as Dr. Seuss's anti-mosquito propaganda for WWII GIs. Despite some flaws, this works as a reasonable general introduction to one miniscule animal's outsize effect on human history. Agent: Rick Broadhead, Rick Broadhead & Associates. (Aug.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Follows the history of the nefarious and pesky mosquito and its impact on humanity throughout the ages and around the globe, explaining how the tiny insect influenced the results of wars, colonization and the modern world order. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

**The instant New York Times bestseller.***An international bestseller.*“Hugely impressive, a major work.”—NPRA pioneering and groundbreaking work of narrative nonfiction that offers a dramatic new perspective on the history of humankind, showing how through millennia, the mosquito has been the single most powerful force in determining humanity’s fate   Why was gin and tonic the cocktail of choice for British colonists in India and Africa? What does Starbucks have to thank for its global domination? What has protected the lives of popes for millennia? Why did Scotland surrender its sovereignty to England? What was George Washington's secret weapon during the American Revolution? The answer to all these questions, and many more, is the mosquito.   Across our planet since the dawn of humankind, this nefarious pest, roughly the size and weight of a grape seed, has been at the frontlines of history as the grim reaper, the harvester of human populations, and the ultimate agent of historical change. As the mosquito transformed the landscapes of civilization, humans were unwittingly required to respond to its piercing impact and universal projection of power.   The mosquito has determined the fates of empires and nations, razed and crippled economies, and decided the outcome of pivotal wars, killing nearly half of humanity along the way. She (only females bite) has dispatched an estimated 52 billion people from a total of 108 billion throughout our relatively brief existence. As the greatest purveyor of extermination we have ever known, she has played a greater role in shaping our human story than any other living thing with which we share our global village.   Imagine for a moment a world without deadly mosquitoes, or any mosquitoes, for that matter? Our history and the world we know, or think we know, would be completely unrecognizable.   Driven by surprising insights and fast-paced storytelling, The Mosquito is the extraordinary untold story of the mosquito’s reign through human history and her indelible impact on our modern world order.