For more than thirty years, interdisciplinary historians have studied how groups and individuals in the past progressed despite food scarcities, nutritional deficiencies, exposure to virulent disease pathogens, dangerous forms of sanitation and other public health problems, menacing urban streets, fearsome and infectious sea voyages, and many other morbid and mortal hazards. That populations grew and economies developed is a tribute to many kinds of human advances. But progress was neither linear nor consistent; nor was it equivalent across continents and cultures. This collection of essays suggests the great extent to which exploration, settlement, agricultural growth, colonization, urbanization, and even human stature were influenced by environmental and epidemiological realities, as well as by political and economic responses to those realities.
Contributors Dauril Alden, Andrew Appleby, Kenneth Fliess, Myron Gutmann, Susan Hanley, Anne Hardy, Irene Hecht, Andrew Hinde, Kenneth Kiple, Virginia Kiple, Massimo Livi-Bacci, Robert McCaa, Joseph Miller, David Northrup, James Riley, Daniel Blake Smith, Robert Woods