Fifty Animals that Changed the Course of History

Category: Book
By (author): Chaline, Eric
Series: Fifty Things That Changed The Course Of History
Subject:  HISTORY / Civilization
  HISTORY / World
  NATURE / Animals / General
  NATURE / Essays
Publisher: Firefly Books
Published: July 2015
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 224
Size: 9.00in x 6.75in x 0.62in
Our Price:
$ 19.95
Availability:
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

"Uncovers some of the most interesting stories of how animals ... have impacted human civilization in economic, political, and industrial history. This is an original approach that links the biological sciences to the social sciences and students and general readers will find many interesting stories within these pages." --American Reference Books Annual 2012

"[An] inspired invitation to browsing, with short but informative essays on each of the subjects, rich in illustrations, excerpts and sidebars." --Globe and Mail

Fifty Animals that Changed the Course of History is a beautifully presented guide to the animals that have had the greatest impact on human civilization.

The 50 animals include the horse, dog, rat, whale, reindeer, beaver, flea, leech, dodo, falcon, oyster and shark. These creatures great and small have played central roles in the evolution of humankind, but they have remained at the periphery of our understanding of history. Whether it is an advancement in scientific knowledge, a trade war, disease and death, battles won and lost, or encounters with explorers in unknown lands, these animals have changed the course of history.

More than 150 elegant drawings, photographs and paintings, as well as excerpts from literature, highlight the concise text. The animals are judged by their influence in four categories:

  • Edible -- animals that have shaped agriculture, such as the cow
  • Medical -- animals that are "disease vectors," spreading bacteria and viruses, from malaria to plague
  • Commercial -- animals used for trade or in manufacturing
  • Practical -- animals used for transportation or clothing.

The animals described in Fifty Animals that Changed the Course of History are familiar, but their roles in human history are easily overlooked. This attractive reference gives us a fresh perspective on our membership in the animal kingdom.

From The Publisher*The fascinating stories of the animals that changed civilizations.
Review Quote*[Review of hardcover edition:] This interesting and pleasingly illustrated book...is a timely reminder that all creatures great and small are co-habitants of the biosphere of which we are an integral part... Fifty Animals That Changed the Course of History is full of interesting facts, and Chaline shows a sense of balance in selecting those most pertinent to the biological, medicinal, cultural and historical importance of his protagonists. Thus, one is sure to learn an assortment of factoids... Fifty Animals reminds us of our relationships with our biosphere brothers and sisters, and the delicate balance this all entails.
Review Quote*[Review of hardcover edition:] Fifty Animals reminds us of our relationships with our biosphere brothers and sisters, and the delicate balance this all entails.
Review Quote*[Review of hardcover edition:] This is a fun read. Each animal has its own section and each section is anywhere from two (Dodo, Carp and Cochineal) to eight pages (Human) in length. Chaline's book is visually pleasing...There are some striking photographs and drawings that highlight each section. Wide margins provide space for informational boxes... Special interest boxes...present some intriguing aspect of the animal's contribution to history... I admire Chaline's attempt to create and justify such an interesting and thought-provoking list... It is well written and a pleasure to read.
Review Quote*[Review of hardcover edition:] A simple writing style makes this book ideal for younger students, and it would be a wonderful addition for any classroom studying animals, while the intriguing trivia and historical references found in accompanying side-bars will engage even the most experienced adult reader. Be prepared when you compare your list of animals to the ones selected for this book, the last entry is one you most likely overlooked.
Review Quote*[Review of hardcover edition:] [It] will no doubt be popular even as an informal addition to any education setting.
Review Quote*[Review of hardcover edition:] (reviewed with Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History) These two volumes from Firefly uncover some of the most interesting stories of how animals and plants have impacted human civilization in economic, political, and industrial history. This is an original approach that links the biological sciences to the social sciences and students and general readers will find many interesting stories within these pages.
Review Quote*[Review of hardcover edition:] Readers may choose to read only the essays that interest them. Natural-history students will find the essays helpful introductions to further study. A website guide is included. Recommended for most public libraries. [Review of hardcover edition:] Humans are the most successful species of mammal to ever walk the earth, according to author Chaline. We have needed help to claim and shape the planet, and we may still be beaten by what we consider to be lower forms of life. In 49 informative essays, the author profiles mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, insects, and other species that have assisted or resisted the human takeover.... The fiftieth essay is about us, and how we may be our own worst enemy.... Natural-history students will find the essays helpful introductions to further study. A website guide included. Recommended for most public libraries.
Review Quote*[Review of hardcover edition:] A companion to Fifty Plants That Changed the Course of History, Fifty Animals is the same sort of inspired invitation to browsing, with short but informative essays on each of the subjects, rich in illustrations, excerpts and sidebars. It's the sort of book that has you saying Wow, listen to this and Did you know... to companions over and over.