From the creators of Poop Happened! (2010), a swarm of bug-driven disasters suffered through the centuries.
Though Albee at least makes mention of honeybees, silkworms, the parasitic wasps used for biological control, and even, provocatively if a tad off topic, a study that suggests intestinal worms make some people healthier, the focus here is on the dark side. Setting readers up for major “ick” moments, the introduction includes a disingenuous warning that squeamish readers should skip the explicit “TMI” side boxes (as if!). The chronicle proper opens with a lurid picture of our historically unhygienic ways and introductions to the four “Bad-News Bugs” most responsible for spreading microbial maladies. Successive chapters (with jocular headers: “Of Lice and Men”; “Twentieth Century Pox”) detail the damage wrought by crop-devouring insects as well as the symptoms and effects of insect-borne epidemics, pandemics and tropical diseases. Along with the aforementioned TMI features, the pages are liberally endowed with side profiles of “Bug Thugs” and human notables, quick quotes and other tidbits, as well as maps, photos, period images and Leighton’s lighthearted cartoon vignettes. Ominous observations toward the end that pesticide-resistant bugs and microbes are on the rise don’t entirely spoil the fun.
Tailor-made for epidemiologists-in-the-making and connoisseurs of the gross. (glossary, multimedia information sources, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)