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Plague: Black Death & Pestilence in Europe (Revealing History) [Paperback]

William Naphy , Andrew Spicer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Nov 2011 Revealing History
The Black Death first hit Europe in 1347. This horrific disease ripped through towns, villages and families. Men, women, children, young and old succumbed to a painful, drawn-out death as pustules, abscesses and boils erupted over their bodies. SUbsequent attacks of the disease, coming almost every decade, so limited the population that it was not until the eighteenth century that it managed to surpass the levels of the 1340s. For over three hundred years, Europeans were stalked by death. In the end, this mysterious disease that had terrorized, terrified and killed millions, disappeared at inexplicably as it had appeared. William Naphy is Senior Lecturer and Head of History at the University of Aberdeen. his other books include Born to be gay and Sex Crimes, both by Tempus. Andrew Spicer is Lecturer in Early Modern European History at Oxford Brookes University.

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Plague: Black Death & Pestilence in Europe (Revealing History) + The Healing Arts: Health, Disease and Society in Europe, 1500-1800 + Health, Disease and Society in Europe, 1500-1800: A Sourcebook
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Product details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; 3rd Revised edition edition (1 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752429639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752429632
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 896,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"One of the most enjoyable history books I have read in a long time"

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Death 22 July 2011
By Assmin
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Brilliant, a great read. As a set text it is very useful and provides all the resources for further study. Also enjoyed reading it as a quick overview of the topic.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! 7 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is truly amazing. It tells a full and fascinating story of the Plague in Europe. The book is well written and easy to follow. I am currently a student at the University of Aberdeen and have met Mr Naphy myself, and anyone else that has sat in his lectures will express just how much this book reads like his lectures. Full of life and incredibly interesting. The book is a fantastic companion for anyone studying the Middle Ages and especially anything related to the Plague or the Black Death, or even just if it is a topic in which you are interested. The book does not only cover the main topics of the most famous plagues, but also digs deeper into those that are lesser known as well as focusing on certain areas as it does so. A must read, and a truly fantastic book from Naphy and Spicer. This is my number one book for my third year history course. I do not know where I would be without it.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A broad overview 16 Nov 2004
By Axel Mickyfinn - Published on Amazon.com
The Black Death is the name commonly given to the plague which arrived in Europe in 1347 and proceeded to ravage the continent with around a third of the population dying as a result. However as the authors show, the 'Black Death' was but the first manifestation in Europe of a cyclic series of epidemics comprising what is known as the Second Great Pandemic.

This is not a detailed history of the plague, but rather a popular overview as to its impact and the response of those afflicted in seeking source and prevention, both theological and medical. Social structures changed in the aftermath of the plague with increased social mobility as vacancies were created almost overnight and as state solutions were imposed to attempt to detect and minimise the spread of the plague.

Two specific attacks of plague are dealt with in detail - the Great Plague of 1665 in London, and the plague of 1720 in Marseilles. The former is probably familiar to most English speaking readers. It's treatment is spoiled by the authors' detailing the course of the casualties in terms of the current population of London - a rather pointless and confusing exercise. I found the account of the Marseilles plague more interesting as I was unfamiliar with this last outbreak of plague in Western Europe, and the eye-witness accounts of the infighting amongst the medical professions and civil authorities were illuminating.

There are inconsistencies - there is some confusion as to when smallpox was recorded in Europe - having initially noted a smallpox epidemic in Roman Italy in AD 165, it is later stated that smallpox was unknown to the ancient world and not described until 910. Minor irritations - most readers will not require a gloss on the meaning of 'catamite'; although the acronyms BSE and CJD should have been fully defined other than as 'Mad Cow Disease'; and if a French proverb is used, it should be in French...

In summation, a readable overview of the Black Death and its successors which sets the pandemic in a European context across four centuries.
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