Bugged!: How Insects Changed History

illus. by Robert Leighton. 176p. further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Walker. Apr. 2014. lib. ed. $22.89. ISBN 9780802734235; pap. $16.99. ISBN 9780802734228.
RedReviewStarGr 5–8—The shock value alone makes this worth the cover price, but once kids are pulled in, they will learn more than they bargained for about the impact of insects on human history. Insects have determined the outcomes of wars and the paths of human migrations; they have brought plagues, provided strong fabrics, and sweetened our tea. Chapters are divided topically, beginning with the basics of insect life cycles, moving on to human hygiene and beneficial insects, and then covering "bad news bugs," before tackling history from the "earliest epidemics" to current concerns in the relationship between humans and insects. This is history for those with a strong constitution, who aren't bothered by phrases such as "cockroach brain tissue," "crawling with maggots," and "bursting buboes" or by the idea of receiving 9,000 insect bites in a minute. With a green-and-purple design, reminiscent of a beetle, and black-and-white photos and cartoon illustrations, this is an attractive package full of hand-washing inducing facts. Overall, this title is astonishing, disgusting, revolting, and ultimately fascinating, making it perfect for emerging entomologists, budding historians, reluctant readers, and gross-out junkies alike.—Heather Acerro, Rochester Public Library, MN
Colloquial yet accurate language delivers abundant information about how insects have affected history--usually for the worse (e.g., the plague-causing fleas of the fourteenth century). Albee excels at combining narrative, sidebars, quotations, and snappy headings ("Critter Transmitter") into a witty unified text, extended by archival images, photos, and Leighton's cartoons. Although this could be sensationalized, it's merely engaging. Reading list, websites. Glos., ind.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing