Beginning with mankind’s earliest recorded history, infectious disease has taken the lives of more humans than all wars, famines and natural disasters combined—not by a narrow margin but by an overwhelming landslide. Before the birth of modern science, losses to these unseen enemies were routinely blamed on the collective sins of man and the wrath of angry gods. Over the course of centuries, man’s ongoing inability to comprehend the microbial world profoundly influenced the development of world religions, societies and medicine, while frequently altering the outcome of human conflict and war.

Unseen Enemies examines the top eleven infectious disease killers in human history, as well as the men and women whose dedication and sacrifice helped to expose answers and cures for each of these runaway conditions. By looking back upon medical history, today’s students of science and medicine might better understand how their own careers may one day profoundly impact the course of human history and scientific achievement.