Hans Zinsser (November 17, – September 4, ) was an American physician, for Nonfiction voted by members of the American Booksellers Association. He is remembered especially for his book, Rats, Lice, and History. Rats, Lice and History by Hans Zinsser, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. Available in: Paperback. When Rats, Lice and History appeared in , Hans Zinsser was a highly regarded Harvard biologist who had never.

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Help us improve this article! However, it’s not as a historian that Zinnser endures for me so much as as a writer; wry, pithy, and occasionally cantankerous. Feb 17, Lavanita rated it really liked it. Though this may have been relatively groundbreaking when it was written, the subject matter is now well covered. Thomas Edison, American inventor who, singly or jointly, held a world record 1, patents.

Throughout his career he was also a professor at Stanford University as well as Harvard University. General Economic History Max Weber. Throughout this informative book’s text, footnotes, chapter subtitles,and myriad discursions, Zinsser applies wickedly pointed turns of phrase to criticize political fashions, military misadventure, and cultural norms.

He received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University in and completed both a master’s degree and a doctorate in medicine there in Zinsser weaves history, social commentary, and epidemiology in an intriguing tale that makes the subject of typhus understandable to almost any reading ability.

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He taught principally at the Columbia —23 and Harvard —40 medical schools. You can’t read historu in one sitting, because you’ll have to keep taking breaks to calm down from the experience. The beginnings of bacteriology paralleled the development of the microscope. It’s a very strange, funny book- a shaggy dog with fleas. For a book ainsser author calls a biography of Typhus it discusses everything from the difference between science and art to multiple other plagues and their effects on history before briefly introducing the reader to the subject for a short period that still wildly tangents.


Rats, Lice and History is a tour de force.

Rats, Lice and History : Hans Zinsser :

This book was the first book I read about disease and pests. So off-topic, but the author is aware of how off-topic he is, “This, we promise, I am absolutely stumped on how to review this book. One of my favorite footnotes tells the reader he isn’t going to define it. Medicine, the practice concerned with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation, or cure of disease. Retrieved from ” https: The next quarter or even more is then dedicated to wars and disease and destruction from the dawn of civilization onward.

Internet URLs are the best. Any text you add should be original, not copied from other sources. Zinsser was inspired by Tristram Shandy in writing his rambling, preambling “biography” of typhus, digging out interesting but unrelated topics when they interest him, burrowing around history for the first signs of its existence.

Check out the top books of the year on our page Best Books of Theory of Economic Development Joseph A. Hooper Jeffery F. Written in as a latter-day variation on Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Zinsser’s book gives a picaresque account of how the history of the world has been shaped by epidemics of louseborne typhus Thank you for your feedback.

RATS, LICE AND HISTORY by Hans Zinsser | Kirkus Reviews

Zinsser call I salvaged an old paperback copy of this book from the library’s garbage bin one day when I was walking around with a very bad cold. So that no one will ever actually see my review, and I can’t easily compare mine with others’. Ihstory other projects Wikimedia Commons. Hans Zinsser November 17, — September 4, was an American physicianbacteriologistand prolific author.


Jun 29, Nancy rated it really liked it Recommended to Nancy by: It’s a bumpy but no less enjoyable ride for being so, and in its casual, layman’s way seems ahead of its time.

You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a hiatory points in mind. I read this when I was in high school, and it influenced my thinking and choices later.

Bacteria nourish plans; plants nourish man and beast. To see what your friends thought of this book, please zihsser up. He is both cynical of humanity and full of deep humanity, and because of this and his style he is reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut.

Some of his verses were published in The Atlantic Monthly. While the book is actually very well written it meanders through multiple other topics before arriving at the self professed subject shortly after the th page.


The classic chronicle of the impact disease and plagues have had on history and society over the past half-millennium. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Book ratings by Goodreads.

Society in America Harriet Martineau. At Columbia, he was the doctoral advisor of Rebecca Kicealthough he did not permit her to physically work in his laboratory due to her gender.

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