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A ground-breaking work of narrative non-fiction that offers a dramatic new perspective on human history.
What was George Washington’s secret weapon during the American Revolution, and how did it lead to Britain colonising Australia? What protected Popes for centuries? And what does Starbucks have to thank for its global domination?
The answer to all these questions, and many more, is the mosquito.
The mosquito has razed economies, determined the fates of empires and decided the outcome of pivotal wars. She—only females bite—has dispatched an estimated 52 billion people from a total of 108 billion ever to have lived. As the greatest purveyor of extermination we have known, she has played a greater role in shaping our history than any other living creature.
The Mosquito is the extraordinary story of how a tiny bloodsucking fly indelibly changed our world. Driven by surprising insights and fast-paced storytelling, it will appeal to readers of Peter Wohlleben and Elizabeth Kolbert—and to anyone who has swatted at one of the 110 trillion mosquitoes buzzing about the Earth.
‘Winegard convincingly argues that the insect has shaped human life as well as delivering death…[He] is an engaging guide, especially when he combines analysis with anecdote.’
‘The insects are still killing more than eight hundred thousand people a year, primarily in Africa. Winegard’s reminder of their enormous potential for destruction is a timely one for all of us.’
‘Written as a big-picture, impersonal history–think Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel…The Mosquito serves up an eye-opening, deeply alarming, and absolutely engrossing view of humanity’s most tenacious foe.’
‘Hugely impressive, a major work.’
‘With the deeply researched Mosquito…[Winegard] uses the bellicose insect to tie together a fascinating, sprawling history — from dinosaurs to the banned insecticide DDT.’
‘This is the extraordinary story of how this tiny creature has shaped civilisation. Not only is it deadly, the mosquito’s influence stretches into politics, colonisation and economics.’
‘Timothy C. Winegard’s The Mosquito is as wildly entertaining as any epic narrative out there. It’s also all true…The Mosquito is an extremely well-researched work of narrative nonfiction that tells the story of the world through the lens of the role that mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses have played in it…The writing is engaging, and Winegard masterfully weaves historical facts and science to offer a shocking, informative narrative that shows how who we are today is directly linked to the mosquito.’
‘The mosquito is no mere backyard annoyance to be swatted away. It’s a flying general that has waged war against every species arrogant enough to climb to the top of the food chain. Though humans are still standing, Winegard’s book is a sprawling account of way too many lost battles, from ancient times to the present day…[G]ripping.’
‘An epic page-turning read…A truly fascinating insight into what author Dr Timothy Winegard calls “the deadliest hunter of human beings on the planet”.’
‘A retelling of the most celebrated wars and other conflicts in human history, but with the addition of another army: that of “general mosquito”, brought to centre stage… From the Peloponnesian wars through to World War II, Winegard reframes the action to show that malaria was the decisive factor.’