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New Light on the Black Death: The Cosmic Connection [Paperback]

Mike Baillie
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Sep 2006
Over the years doubts have been expressed about the accepted view that the Black Death was caused by bubonic plague. By looking at the evidence of tree-rings and ice cores, the author has identified a series of natural catastrophes at the beginning of the fourteenth century, caused by meteor strikes.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; 1 edition (15 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752435981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752435985
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.6 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 840,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Black Death was the infamous disaster event that I have studied in college a few years ago. During my studies, I have focused so much on the primary documents as well on the secondary sources on how such disaster came to be, seeing that it killed off two-third of the population and the after-effects. But, never once have I thought of the shocking connection between the comet impact and the event of Black Death of 1347 as I have just read this book by Mike Baillie, which profoundly changed my perspective.

I have been read quite few books and articles on the Black Death and came to learn, as "accepted" by scientific community, that the Black Death was spread by black rats (rattus rattus) from Asia area to Europe. But, Baillie questioned that notion and asked what if that Black Death was never a bubonic plague as everyone believed it was.

In "New Light on the Black Death," Baillie provided intriguing evidence, such as tree-rings, ice cores, as well the contemporary accounts to bring home the new perspective: that Black Death was likely caused by a comet impact. Not only he provided an evidence for the plague of 1348/9, but he also brings to attention of the previous events, such as the Justinian plague of AD 542 and the plague of Athens in AD 430.

Once again, this book certainly changed my perspective of the Black Death, questioned everything I have ever studied on the subject. Not only does this book question my knowledge on the subject, but it certainly made me ponder on the future cosmic disasters: "Will there be the next Black Death?"

Baillie's book is filled with fascinating and shocking scientific data. It consisted only 19 chapters, with roughly 205 pages as it's not very long book, but it certainly enthralled me to read it with a careful attention. And, this book is a truly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing 24 Jan 2008
An interesting thesis: that the early stages of the Black Death in Europe were caused by a sizeable fragment of a comet landing in the Mediterranean and releasing a cloud of toxic gases. Only the later deaths were caused by disease, presumably aided by compromised immune systems. The quality of the evidence that Baillie presents ranges from the wholly convincing down to the merely suggestive.

Let's descend through the degrees of probability. For a start, epidemiologists are already casting doubt on the traditional rat/flea/bubonic plague model. Baillie shows, from tree-ring data - his own speciality - that there was a pronounced climatic downturn in the few years preceding the plague in Europe. From ice-core evidence it would appear that the reason for this is most likely cometary dust reducing the solar incidence, plus a series of minor impacts injecting pollutants into the atmosphere. Many contemporary writers spoke of crop failures, earthquakes, tsunamis, dry fogs and corrupted air. There are also mentions of fireballs falling from the sky. The mythology associated with earlier plagues would also support a cometary origin.

It seems fairly certain therefore that the Earth was peppered with bits of comet during the 1340's and that plant-life suffered as a consequence. This has to be at least a contributory factor to the rate at which the plague spread. For the rest, I'll leave you to come to your own conclusions - but read the book anyway.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended 4 April 2008
This is a scientific book that reads like a detective novel. For the first time, Baillie takes a cross-disciplinary approach to study what happened during the Black Death in Europe in the 14th century. A large amount of evidence is gathered from diverse fields of studies such as tree ring, ice core to mythology to present a convincing case that what caused the Black Death was not at all what the consensus has taken it to be. Rather than the bubonic plague, Baillie shows that the event that killed up to half Europe's population was caused by toxic substances released by cometary impacts from space.

"Why should I care about what caused the Black Death?," you may ask. It is because what happened in the past may well happen in our future. Baillie shows in the book that the Black Death is not just an isolated event but part of a series of cataclysms caused by comets. And he is but one of the warning voices about this danger facing humanity. According to new research, notably by Victor Clube in The Cosmic Winter, the probability of cometary impact in a century period is very high. An example of it being the Tunguska impact at the early 20th century. Imagine what the effect would have been if that comet had landed on a city instead of a remote place.

So I would highly recommend this book to everyone to learn more about this subject. Acquiring knowledge is the first step in dealing with any threat, especially one with global implication like this. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Black Death 16 Aug 2010
A very unusual theory on the cause of the plagues that swept the world in the Middle Ages. The supporting data is quite convincing, though you'd have to be a tree ring or ice core scientist to completely understand it and know whether what was being said was true. I loved the folk lore stories that seem to support the dates of the impact events. The book certainly made me think about a theory that is probably very controversial and that I have never heard of before. The first three or so chapters are difficult to get into, but after that the book picks up and is well worth reading.
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