Author traces how mos­quito has shaped hu­man his­tory

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Spotlight - BY TRACEE M. HERBAUGH

Since the dawn of hu­mankind, mos­qui­toes have been around to pester us, buzzing in an ear be­fore se­lect­ing a blood ves­sel on which to feast. But these tiny, dis­ease­trans­mit­ting bugs are more than a sum­mer­time nui­sance; they’ve played a sig­nif­i­cant role in shap­ing our world to­day.

“The Mos­quito: A Hu­man His­tory of Our Dead­li­est Preda­tor” by Timothy C. Wine­gard chron­i­cles the role played by mos­qui­toes from the fall of Rome to a rise in Chris­tian­ity to how the Civil War ended.

“As the pin­na­cle pur­veyor of our ex­ter­mi­na­tion, the mos­quito has con­sis­tently been at the front lines of his­tory as the grim reaper, the har­vester of hu­man population­s, and the ul­ti­mate agent of his­tor­i­cal change,” writes Wine­gard, a pro­fes­sor of his­tory and po­lit­i­cal sci­ence at Colorado Mesa Univer­sity.

Wine­gard traces the mos­quito through his­tory, start­ing with the di­nosaurs up to present day.

It’s when hu­mans be­gan to cul­ti­vate farm an­i­mals in close prox­im­ity about 10,000 years ago that the mos­quito re­ally flour­ished. With the bug’s ubiq­uity, it’s no sur­prise an­cient philoso­phers such as Homer have touched on the mos­quito’s dis­ease.

Read­ers of non­fic­tion, his­tory and sci­ence will en­joy Wine­gard’s unique take on the ever-present pest.

If you can’t get away from mos­qui­toes in your back­yard, then im­merse your­self in this book and learn a new per­spec­tive on this seem­ingly in­signif­i­cant part of sum­mer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.