- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: The History Press; 1 edition (1 Sept. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0752435981
- ISBN-13: 978-0752435985
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 1.5 x 24.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 903,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
New Light on the Black Death: The Cosmic Connection Paperback – 1 Sep 2006
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About the Author
Professor of Dendrochonology at Queen's University, Belfast, Mike Baillie is the author (with Patrick McCafferty) of an equally original study The Celtic Gods: Comets in Irish Mythology.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
"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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mike Baillie is a world-class dendrochronologist however this venture into epidemiology is absurd. The path of infection of the Black Death can easily be observed to follow trade... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Edmund Fletcher
Excellent book on dendrochronology which ties tree growth and proliferation into disasters affecting man. Fascinating. Well done Professor Baillie.Published 24 months ago by The Blackwidow Cconsultancy
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