Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bugged: How Insects Changed History” as Want to Read:
Bugged: How Insects Changed History
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bugged: How Insects Changed History

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  195 ratings  ·  52 reviews
There are about ten quintillion insects in the world-and some of them have affected human history in tremendous ways! For as long as humans have been on earth, we've co-existed with insects . . . for better or for worse. Once you begin to look at world history through fly-specked glasses, you begin to see the mark of these minute life forms at every turn. Beneficial bugs h ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens (first published April 1st 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bugged, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bugged

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  195 ratings  ·  52 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Bugged: How Insects Changed History
Melissa Stewart
May 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This fascinating page turner is sure to delight even the most reluctant middle-grade readers. Brimming with captivating, meticulously-research information, it offers a humorous, punny, fast-paced overview of world history that highlights how diseases transmitted by humans influenced the outcome of wars, determined where civilizations developed, and shape the world we live in. Bugged: How Insects Changed the World is definitely one of my favorite books of the year.
Albee presents some incredibly interesting and incredibly disgusting facts about the role that insects have played in the past as well as the present. Insects have never been my favorite thing, with a very few exceptions (ladybugs anyone?). At the same time, I was aware that they have their own important place in various world ecosystems. I was also aware of the fact that some insects have helped spread diseases that to this day continue to kill millions of people. But this book provided specifi ...more
Lisa Newhouse
Aug 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book was confusing to me. It seemed like the author was trying way too hard to fit insects into every major historical event. I thought it was interesting how the "bugs" were such large contributors to disease and how those diseases affected history. I feel like the book may have flowed better if it were organized by the disease or type of insect and how it affected history instead of laying out history and sticking the bugs in where they fit. I expected to learn much more about bugs in thi ...more
Ellen Fitzgerald
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: caudill
Absolutely fascinating! The accounts are written with a bit of humor that kids of all ages are sure to enjoy. The only downside is that all of the illustrations and pictures in the book are green and purple. I would recommend this to any kid who was looking for a fun non-fiction book to read.
Shauna Yusko
Interesting info...color choice ruined impact of many of the illustrations.
Debbie Graham
I really wanted to love this book but, as others have pointed out, the colors were unfortunate and a distraction. The book also suffers from organization ...a focus on each insect and what it has done throughout history would have been more easily followed...Some complicated vocabulary was not explained - for example on p. 44, it uses the word hemorrhoids and seems to assume the target audience will know what that is! There is serious oversimplification of history as well....while at the same ti ...more
Marsha Green
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reading-635
Bugged is the story of how bugs impact us and our world. From funny stories of bugs in food to serious stories like plagues, this book has it all. It is full of facts presented in a way that all level of readers can enjoy it. There is a long narrative for more advanced or engaged readers but many colorful side boxes with quick interest grabbing facts, such as how long a cockroach can live without his head attached. I book talked this to my 6th graders and they loved it!
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science

Fun book of trivia about insect related world history and medical science.
May 08, 2018 rated it liked it
The history of insects and how they have affected human civilizations through the present time.
Jennifer Black
Jul 11, 2020 rated it liked it
How bug-transmitted diseases changed the course of history. A little disgusting at times, but should be appealing to older kids.
Janice Fox
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Yeah, I know that it is a kids book, but I really enjoyed it and I learned A LOT! Fun book to read!
May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
History is never completely written. Every time we gain some critical piece of information that helps us understand a historical event better, we can see that event in a new light. Europeans encounter the "New World" for the first time, and they bring a lot more than their attitudes and technology, they bring new insects and diseases that insects carry with them. That unintended introduction changed the Americas forever.

This book introduces us to insects as a part of history. Spaniards meet Ame
Dawn Moews
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: n1
I must confess I'm not a big fan of insects or books about them. However, I know there are times when it is important to learn about them. This is an engaging and informative book which takes a very different approach than most insect books. Filled with interesting vignettes, the book does focus as the title says on how insects have impacted the past. For example, the Louisiana Purchase was actually made possible because Napoleon had sent 33,000 troops to regain control of Haiti, its slaves and ...more
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
The book got a little preachy at the end and a little liberal so that's why I gave it a four star.
1. I loved Sarah Albee's other book like this called Poop Happened.
2. Both books are packed with facts and tidbits.
3. I learned so much from reading this book and this built on my knowledge from reading similar books.
4. This is very kid friendly with pictures, glossary, small boxes with more information, an index, and gross stuff that kids love.
5. Luke Pryor Blackburn: tries to kill president. Bec
Sep 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: rc
This book was good for what it is. The format is kid friendly and easy to read. The purple/green color scheme makes the pictures more kid friendly and less gross. The book does a great job going through history in a very organized easy to read format.

The couple of problems I had with the book are the constant references to other pages in the book. It happens too often. Another issue I had was the constant speculation. The nature of the topic makes it impossible to prove the theories presented i
J. Evans
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Title: Bugged: How Insects Changed History
Author: Sarah Albee
Interest Level: 7th to Adult
Rating: 4/5

"This book is full of death, disease, and disgusting details about some of the most horrible events in human history." For many of you, this excerpt from the book's jacket is enough to make you want to read this book. But for those of you that cringe at such a description, the reality is that it is (almost) as rife with information about the infinite untold wonders that insects provide for earth
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book because it hits a lot of the right reluctant reader notes. The cover is funny (but more appealing to a younger than teenage audience). It features an image of George Washington, cross-eyed with a fly on his nose. The title is in large type face. The stories are interesting, with decent white space, good type face size, and ants bordering the pages. The book features photos, paintings, drawings and comics. It also has a glossary, further reading suggestions, web ...more
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: j-non-fiction
Summary: Informational text presenting a variety of facts and figures on death, disease, and destruction...all due to insects!

Review: Excellent collection of historical and cultural observations [and effects] of bugs on society and nature. Geared toward upper elementary students [grades 3+] and includes several reference aids such as table of contents, interesting notes [smartly labeled "Insect Asides" and "Pox Box"], index, website suggestions, footnotes, bibliography, glossary, etc. From the a
This book was gross and disgusting, filled with disease and death caused by... BUGS (more correctly known as insects)! It was also fascinating and hilarious, and read like a page-turning novel. It was full of puns from start to finish, from "Biblical Bugs: Holy Terrors" to "Of Lice and men-- the Irish Potato Famine," which made some of the plagues a bit more tolerable. It's history from a different point of view, and if you want a bunch of cool facts about.... eeeewwwww.... BUGS... to impress yo ...more
Marion Neiswander
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fascinating history of bugs in their millions and billions have affected wars, helped to shape civilizations, and changed the predicted course of history. Bugs--insects--bring disease but they also give us honey and twinkling lights in summer. They can give us building samples we can use in architecture and they help break down refuse and dung.

The book is full of drawings, photographs, and sidebars. It's funny and while the verbiage is sometimes more wisecracking than I might prefer, most kids
May 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Since I so much enjoyed Albee's Poop Happened!, I wasn't surprised to like this one, too. How can a writer make topics like "integrated pest management" interesting to read about? I'm not sure, but Albee does it. (Doesn't hurt that her book is full of cool images--archival and cartoon--that add to the appeal.) A great book to dip into in small doses. Any more, and you'll start feeling a little itchy...
Sue Poduska
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Combining biology, history, and a little humor, the author of this amazing new book presents a different view of the world as we know it. Sixth graders, especially boys, will get a kick out of the idea that insects had such a huge influence on history. Leighton’s sketches and choices of photos add a fun dimension to the project.
Jane Sutcliffe
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Interesting, funny, and deliciously gross, this book is a bug’s eye view of human history. I especially love the section titles like “Evil Weevil,” “Of Lice and Men,” and “Global Swarming.” What a great way to give kids a healthy dose of world history with some buggy facts on top. I can see this being a big hit with kids who like to be icked-out (i.e. boys).
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Game changer. Thinking changer. This book disrupted and reconfigured my thinking about insects and their affects on human life, war and disease. It is an easy read through history on the thread of insects' role in history. It is more like an appetizer than a main course which had me enjoy it all the more.
Great Books
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ages-9-11
Insects and humans have always coexisted, although not always in harmony. The impact that insects have had on the course of history is cleverly shared through text, figures, and illustrations with humor and GREAT detail. Learn how these small creatures have shaped the world as we know it. Reviewer # 26
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: skimmed
Skimmed this book for my non-fiction teen outreach list. This book is filled with great facts about insects that most people wouldn't know about. Timeline- starts before humans even exist and ends with modern times. Gives an extensive history of insects and how they affected people's lives. There's even a recipe for chocolate covered crickets!
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.1 stars

So interesting! According to this book, the history of mankind has been as affected by bugs as it has been by anything else in the world.
The layout is friendly and interesting. Kids may just spot-read it. But it has more punch and perspective if read cover-to-cover. There’s a bit of a snarky undertone to the book.
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is full of facts presented in a way that all level of readers can enjoy it. There is a long narrative for more advanced or engaged readers but many colorful side boxes with quick interest grabbing facts like how long a cockroach can live without his head attached. I book talked this one to fifth graders and they loved it!
Dec 17, 2014 marked it as to-read
There are ten quintillion (billion billion) insects in the world.
-Crushed bug carcasses (cochineal) is used to dye a lot of food and makeup red (p. 20)
-Insects as food; recipe for chocolate covered crickets (p. 22-23)
-Schmidt Sting Pain Index (p. 36)
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it
I didn't read this all the way through. I did skim it and shared it with my students. They thought it was interesting. None of them read all of it either, though they did shout out interesting facts as they found them.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Dungeoneers (Dungeoneers, #1)
  • King of the Mole People (book 1)
  • The Abominables
  • Monstrous: The Lore, Gore, and Science Behind Your Favorite Monsters
  • Squirm
  • Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope Adventures of the Great Blondin
  • The Incredible yet True Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt: The Greatest Inventor-Naturalist-Scientist-Explorer Who Ever Lived
  • Harry Houdini: The Legend of the World's Greatest Escape Artist
  • Dragon Run
  • Heroes & Villains
  • Other Worlds
  • The Impact Cycle: What Instructional Coaches Should Do to Foster Powerful Improvements in Teaching
  • The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious, #3)
  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library (Mr. Lemoncello's Library #1)
  • Lovely War
  • The Jungle Book
  • Fortunately, the Milk
  • Lenses on Reading, Third Edition: An Introduction to Theories and Models
See similar books…

Related Articles

In these strange days of quarantine and isolation, books can be a mode of transport. We may have to stay home and stay still, but through t...
50 likes · 27 comments