No flea ever knowingly killed a man,"" and the author, who like most, has pursued and retrenched from ankles upwards, admits to a less-than-grudging respect. Chapters hop the centuries as the flea is damned, allegorized, utilized in popular-to-high-style pornography. Those spellbound by the sprightlier flea-rotic frolics may not take to the author's amusingly explicit accounts of the physiology, processes and recent revelations concerning the insect; but the delights of Signor Bertoloto's famous Flea Circus of the early nineteenth century leaven the inevitable stomach churns at the plague-spreading curse of flea-dom. Anecdote, allusions and sound scientific fact--up to scratch and lively as a . . . .