Plagues And Peoples Chapter Summary

analytical Essay
922 words
922 words

Plagues and Peoples written by William H. McNeill follows the patterns of epidemics and endemics within human history. It is within this history that McNeill finds parallels between diseases and humans in the forms of microparasitism and macroparasitism. Merely from the title, McNeill gives equal importance to viruses and humankind. In several instances, humans behave the same way viruses, bacteria, and parasites do in order to survive and to compete. Surprisingly enough, McNeill’s overarching theme can be summarized using his last sentence, asserting that “Infectious disease which antedated the emergence of humankind will last as long as humanity itself, and will surely remain, as it has been hitherto, one of the fundamental parameters and …show more content…

He introduces the book with the concept of parasites and their role in balancing human population growth and their rise in the food chain or how he puts it “compensatory adjustments by other forms of life hemmed in human communities in such a tough and complex way that even after fully human skills had been achieved, the new efficiency attainable through cultural evolution was not sufficient to overpower and revolutionize the ecological system within which humanity evolved.” Interestingly McNeill gives agency to viruses and even distinguishes them as a safety measure preventing humanity from destroying the ecological balance of the world. Throughout Plagues and Peoples, McNeill tracks migration patterns, new points of contact, and warfare across countries and continents and how epidemic outbreak patterns correspond with major events. Since William H. McNeill organized Plagues and Peoples chronologically, it became clear that his research involved layering timelines between major events and epidemics. Obviously, McNeill focused on migration patterns and the encounters different cultures had from different climates as well as possible animal encounters. Virgin populations became key groups susceptible to plagues as their bodies were not accustomed to foreign contaminants and biological warfare. McNeill used scientific and medical knowledge of the twentieth century to support the majority of his

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how william h. mcneill's plagues and peoples follows the patterns of epidemics and endemics within human history.
  • Explains that william h. mcneill spent his academic career studying world history, teaching at the university of chicago, and authoring more than twenty books.
  • Analyzes how mcneill opens plagues and peoples with early humans and their relationship with predator/prey dynamics. he introduces the concept of parasites and its role in balancing human population growth.
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