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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars creative journalism
The Penguin edition restores Defoe's original punctuation, with a capital for nouns and colons for stops, so the writing has the vitality, weight and elasticity of Defoe's authentic style. I wish Penguin's print was more comfortable to read and blacker.

I first read this book in the early 1970s as a work of fiction because it has been classified as such since...
Published on 3 April 2006 by DH Dixon

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars hard work but worth the effort
I enjoyed reading this book, but found it rather laborious at times, and it did not flow well. In fairness, given it was written over 300 years ago, it tells of the life Londoners were living in the plague years. It was quite frightening imagining the crude methods they had for containing the plague, and the lack of sanitation, and housekeeping they were able to employ...
Published on 21 Oct 2011 by T. Gardener


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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 7 July 2014
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Mr. Stephen Vizinczey (London) - See all my reviews
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Defoe is one of the great English writers, and this is possibly his best book..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting account, 29 Jun 2014
Written in a surprisingly modern style, if a little long winded and repetitive, Defoe's voice comes through the purported narrator's as an onlooker, speculating on the causes and methods by which the distemper was spread, coming close to the truth in doing so. He denies the direct hand of god in striking victims and dismisses the range of quack cures and portents. He tells stories, some of which are first hand true ones, others which are reported urban myths. He praises the Lord Mayor for keeping law and order and dispensing charity to the poor, who are the only ones left in the city when everyone with money has fled, and who are employed as watchmen, examiners, nurses and body collectors when all other employment stops. The narrative is punctuated with lists of numbers of the dead which show clearly the progress of the disease, its spread from west to east and its peak and decline.(These lists need to be formatted properly
in tables.) What comes across most strongly is the ignorance and suffering of those stricken and those mourning. Read this and be thankful to be living in the 21st century.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Journal of the Plague Year, 2 Jun 2014
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P. A. Ward "patsywoo" (U.K) - See all my reviews
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These classics for kindle are a brilliant idea. Take up no space, so easy to access and timeless. If you know someone who loves classics. Sent this to them.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Daniel Defoe – A Journal of the Plague Year | Review, 31 Mar 2014
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I had to read Daniel Defoe’s early example of realistic storytelling as part of my London in Literature course at university – many people think his tale of the black death is a journalistic report of the facts, but it really is a piece of fiction no matter how closely it might resemble the truth.

Sure, the language is a little heavy in parts and it’s only really worth reading if you have a deep interest in the plague, but it’s pretty good considering its age.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 12 Mar 2014
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It was a very informative book. I really enjoyed it and the desperation of the people of London during the year.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Journal of the Plague Year, 19 Feb 2014
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Very detailed account of that awful year and the conditions of the residents of London including their very real fears.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking in how we behave react to and deal with crisis events, 1 Nov 2013
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Well written as an eye witness account. A sobering look at dealing with a major health crisis at a time when the medical profession and public administration was ill equipped to deal with a mass contagion. Inspiring in parts with selfless acts undertaken by individuals.
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4.0 out of 5 stars University Course Book, 4 Aug 2013
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I didn't expect to like this but I did. there is a huge amount of description and information in the book, and it really does give some idea of the conditions during the great plague. It is challenging in that there are no set chapters, but worth the effort.
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4.0 out of 5 stars This book won't Plague you !, 19 July 2013
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I really enjoyed dipping into this fictional account of the plague in London. I found that reading short sections that caught ones interest was the way to gain enjoyment from reading this book.

There are super vignettes such as the lady thieves who just wandered into the store house of a neighbour (who had fled to the country) and wandered off wearing hats stolen from the store house! Or the piper who was mistaken for a corpse and taken in the body waggon and he sat up from underneath a pile of bodies and wondered where he was.

Give it a bash. Far too dry for a straight read - unless you are studying the book for a specific purpose - but a super dive in dive out book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Take in slowly, 4 July 2013
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If you've ever watched films like "Contagion" or anything where a super virus comes along and threatens to wipe out civilisation, well forget them, because this is the original, classic story of the ultimate super virus which threatened the population. This is a fictionalised account, but you don't need more than a basic grasp of history to know that the events described in this book actually happened; the fear which hung over the streets and the desperate measures people were willing to take are all real. As a result, this is an amazing piece of history and is so well-written; the author captures the events right from the very first whisperings of an outbreak (from the bills of the dead listed each week), the rumours in the streets, the barricading of the afflicted into their houses, the superstitions and those who took advantage of the fearful, the increase in crime, the rise of fear of the very people who had been your neighbours and friends, children fleeing from their parents and (perhaps more shockingly) parents abandoning their children to their fate; up to the final acceptance that in all likelihood the next to person to die would be yourself. The atmosphere of fear is palpable and yet it is told so matter of factly. It is a masterpiece in the conveying of a tale of true terror.

However, (and it's a big however), it is actually quite hard to read. I don't know if its because of the age it was written in (I'm not a huge fan of this period in literature) or if it's just the narration style, but it all gets a bit tiresome sometimes - the endless "bills" of dead people, etc. There's no doubt that this is a great book, and it really does capture the essence of fear on the streets. The author has achieved what he set out to do: "If I could but tell this part in such moving accents as should alarm the very soul of the reader, I should rejoice that I recorded those things, however short and imperfect." but in the end I was reduced to reading 10 pages at a time because if I read any more in one sitting, I just stopped concentrating.

If you have not read this book - it is free on Kindle and worth downloading - there are some great examples of writing in here, but I found you had to read it slowly in order to take everything in.
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A Journal of the Plague Year
A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe (Paperback - 29 May 2003)
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