Timothy C. Winegard

Timothy C. Winegard is an assistant professor of history at Colorado Mesa University, and author of five books of history.

Quotes edit

The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator (2019) edit

All page numbers are from the hardcover first edition published by Dutton Books ISBN 978-1-524-74341-3, first printing
  • History does not warehouse well in neatly labeled boxes, for events do not exist in quarantined isolation. They exist on a broad spectrum, and all influence and shape each other. Historical episodes are rarely built on the ground of a single foundation. Most are the product of a tangled web of influences and cascading cause-and-effect relationships within a broader historical narrative. The mosquito and her diseases are no different.
    • Chapter 1, “Toxic Twins: The Mosquito and Her Diseases” (pp. 15-16)
  • The religious component was only one motivation for the architects of the Crusades and was generally used as a shroud to mask their real intention, which at the core was political, territorial, and economic advantage.
    • Chapter 5, “Unrepentant Mosquitos: A Crisis of Faiths and the Crusades” (pp. 120-121)
  • During both the past and present, commerce is one of the most efficient carriers of communicable disease.
    • Chapter 7, “The Columbian Exchange: Mosquitos and the Global Village” (p. 152)
  • The willingness of Africans to participate in the slave trade in Africa allowed it to flourish. Africans delivered fellow Africans into the clutches of European subjugation and servitude, something the mosquito made impossible for Europeans to do themselves. The mosquito would not allow Europeans to pluck Africans from their homelands. Without African slavery, New World mercantilist plantation economics would have failed, quinine would not have been discovered, and Africa would have remained African. The entire Columbian Exchange would have been vastly different, or perhaps not have occurred at all.
    As it was, however, the Portuguese, and eventually the Spanish, English, French, Dutch, and other Europeans, were able to tap into the existing internal African slave culture that revolved around captives of war. Africans initially sold their captives to the Portuguese, and small, localized slave trade emerged. Originally, it generally operated under the cultural umbrella of customary and conventional African slavery. By exploiting this traditional feuding among African nations and social networks, Europeans were able to introduce a vastly different form of captive slavery, one of bulk commercial export. African leaders and monarchs began raiding traditional enemies and allies alike, solely for the purpose of capturing slaves to sell at a growing number of slave forts on the coast, operated by an increasingly broad range of European nationalities. The European demand was met by an African supply of African slaves.
    • Chapter 8, “Accidental Conquerors: African Slavery and the Mosquito’s Annexation of the Americas” (p. 176)
  • The Gates Foundation is the third-largest underwriter of global health research, trailing only the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom.
    • Chapter 19, “The Modern Mosquito and Her Diseases: At the Gates of Extinction?” (p. 422)
  • The idea that we can control these unimaginably complex genetic encodings and ecosystems is like believing we can control the weather. Yes, we can affect it, but we can also certainly make it worse. We have no reason whatsoever to believe that we can engineer a perfectly desired outcome or fabricate a flawlessly designed product 100% of the time. It only takes one mistake, slipup, inadvertent human error to set us on a disastrous orbit or flight path.
    • Chapter 19, “The Modern Mosquito and Her Diseases: At the Gates of Extinction?” (p. 435; referring to CRISPR technology)

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