nrlymrtl, January 4, 2013 (view all comments by nrlymrtl)
This book was incredibly fun nonfiction to read. While of great interest to anyone with a bioscience bend, you don’t have to be scientifically minded to enjoy this book. Indeed, the concepts contained in this work are laid out for everyone to enjoy and access. In fact, Rob Dunn often waxes nearly poetic in his passion to imbue this book, and his readers, with knowledge. There are also many footnotes containing esoteric, yet highly amusing, information. For centuries, humans have tried to live apart from the world, cleaning, dousing, shaving, medicating away any other living organism on or near our pristine bodies. But perhaps that has not been the wisest course; after all, the human body, and it’s immune system, evolved over millennium to coexist with these little, microscopic organisms. In this book, this taboo subject is covered.
Carol Reuther, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by Carol Reuther)
This was one of the most intriguing and fascinating books that I have ever read. So much to learn about our bodies that I had no idea about. It's as if our bodies are cities with many tiny inhabitants, from bacteria and viruses to worms. Really enjoyed learning so much.
Mary Ann Dimand, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Mary Ann Dimand)
A fascinating, intimately ecological account of how humans and other mammals make part of biological networks. Anthropological, medical, historical, and biological stories amplify the story of how we live best in balance with microorganisms and macro-competitors despite our mental clinging to absolute notions of purity and safety.
Shel Anderson, January 3, 2012 (view all comments by Shel Anderson)
Thanks, Powells for making me think over the books I read this year. I'm choosing Rob Dunn's book because it radically changes the way I think about evolutionary dynamics. This book includes some wild speculation but it directs attention to the inside of our bodies in a way that is truly new to me. It makes me feel as if I'm in a new kind of world, with my attention directed in new ways.
Shel Anderson, October 26, 2011 (view all comments by Shel Anderson)
I have been interested in evolution for years, but this book gave me a radically new perspective on how humans have evolved. Dunn looks at the interior of our bodies, and the host of creatures which have helped make us who we are. He looks at the nudges from the exterior also. Really a remarkable book!
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"In this snappy, popular science look at the human condition, North Carolina State biologist Dunn (Every Living Thing) argues that our lives and our bodily functions (including the immune system) are intimately linked to species that live on and around us. Dunn offers lots of eye-popping biological tidbits — such as how worms may set you free if you suffer from a variety of stomach disorders; or the supposedly useless appendix actually helps the microbes in our guts; and scary movies satisfy our brain parts that still tell us we're being chased by predators. Ticks and lice may have triggered our relatively hairless evolution. Yet there's far more than fun facts; Dunn begs us to look toward a future in which we interact more with the species we have moved away from. Dunn challenges us to view a 'web of life in which we evolved, that once shaped us and whose rediscovery could benefit our bodies and our health.' (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Based on her hugely popular Atlantic article, science writer Kathleen McAuliffe reveals the myriad ways parasites control how humans act, feel, and think.
As we are now discovering, parasites—microbes that cannot thrive and reproduce without another organism as a host—are shockingly sophisticated and extraordinarily powerful. In fact, a host of parasites affect our behavior in ways we have barely begun to understand
In this mind-bending book, McAuliffe reveals the eons-old war between parasites and other creatures that is playing out in our very own bodies. And more surprising still, she uncovers the decisive role that parasites may have played in the rise and demise of entire civilizations. Our obsession with cleanliness and our experience of disgust are both evolutionary tools for avoiding infection, but they evolved differently for different populations. Political, social, and religious differences among societies may be caused, in part, by the different parasites that prey on us. In the tradition of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel and Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish, This Is Your Brain on Parasites is both a journey into cutting-edge science and a revelatory examination of what it means to be human.
by Harper Collins,
“Anextraordinary book…. With clarity and charm [Dunn] takes the reader into theoverlap of medicine, ecology, and evolutionary biology to reveal an importantdomain of the human condition.” —EdwardO. Wilson, author of Anthill and The Future of Life
BiologistRob Dunn reveals the crucial influence that other species have upon our health,our well-being, and our world in The WildLife of Our Bodies—a fascinating tour through the hidden truths of natureand codependence. Dunn illuminates the nuanced, often imperceptible relationshipsthat exist between homo sapiens and other species, relationships that underpinhumanitys ability to thrive and prosper in every circumstance. Readers ofMichael Pollans TheOmnivores Dilemma will be enthralled by Dunns powerful, lucid explorationof the role that humankind plays within the greater web of life on Earth.
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