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Return of the Black Death: The World's Greatest Serial Killer by [Scott, Susan, Duncan, Christopher]
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Return of the Black Death: The World's Greatest Serial Killer Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Length: 318 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Review

"...fascinating book...a gripping read..." (Perioperative Nursing, September 04) "...combines historical and biological research to undermine what we have long believed..." (Ancestors, Dec 05)

From the Inside Flap

The Black Death appeared out of the blue in Sicily in 1347 and moved swiftly on to kill half of Europe in three years. Once the plague had established a stronghold in France it continued to terrorize the continent for another three centuries. London′s Great Plague of 1665–66, which claimed 6000 lives a week at its height, was its last great strike. A few years later it disappeared as suddenly and mysteriously as it had appeared. Susan Scott and Christopher Duncan uncover the tragic and moving human stories behind the records: unsung heroes, bereaved parents, parted lovers and those who exploited the suffering of others for their own greed. They also trace the origins of this lethal disease, through possible earlier outbreaks in classical times back to its animal hosts in Africa. Here it remains but there is no reason to believe it has gone for good.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2798 KB
  • Print Length: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (10 Dec. 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000PY4534
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #496,706 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is completely un-putdownable. A fantastic piece of detective work, tracing the origins, progress and final extinction of the Black Death that swept through Europe in waves throughout the centuries, interlaced with human stories and real sympathy with the immense suffering endured by many thousands of its victims. It was not bubonic plague at all, but haemorrhagic plague that decimated whole countries - a truly horrifying and thankfully extinct virus that was uncontrollable and invincible. It's infectious incubation period of about 30 days ensured it spread far and wide before sufferers were even aware they had it.Forget about all you heard about fleas and rats. Had it been bubonic plague, there would have been much less to worry about! The authors finally speculate on what comes next, and how would we deal with it (bird flu???)and what is the most gruesome disease we can die of today (has to be ebola!). A truly great book, and one to make us think.
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Format: Paperback
The return of the Black Death tries to give an overview of the spread of the the Plague during the middle ages and renaissance and tries to bedunk history with regards to the prevalent theories on the cause of this epidemic. And I must say it does it very well. It's a good history read with a healthy dose of science and rationality sprinkled on top. The writing style is engaging and understandable, even for a layman.

What most struck me is the amount of panic a small epidemic, like SARS, can generate in our modern world and how a major epidemic like HIV/AIDS, which kills millions per year, gets, relatively speaking, so little attention.

A recommended read and a real eye-opener.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A real eye opener. To find out the the black plague was not bubonic as commongly thought, but a haemorrhagic plague that killed not only thousands in the Uk, but millions world-wide. This plague returned to decimate entire cities time and time again over a period of 400 years or more, finally seeming to disappear around the early 18th century. Or is it just in hiding?

The book is well written and interesting and does not baffle you too much with science.

Haemorrhagic plague (I am reliably informed by the book!) is a very nasty little disease to catch. Like Ebola, the sufferer literally bleeds to death and his/her insides rot away, turning to liquid. The symptons of haemorrahgic plague are very similar to that of bubonic plague with the black `spots' or bubis being the blood showing under the skin. The final horrible, visible stages of the disease through to death are very painful and the sufferer experiences flu like symptons, vomiting blood, and diarrhea and finally falls into a coma. According to the book some sufferers were in so much pain that it drove them mad and they would throw themselves into the street screaming or even out of windows in a bid to escape the pain. These final symptons take place over a few days (from 5 to 12) and at present there is no known cure.

The authors set out to prove that the black death was caused by hemorrhagic plague, by showing the following differences: that the incubation and infectious period was a lot longer in heamorrhagic plague (approx 32 days) whereas the incubation period was a lot shorter in bubonic plague only 2 to 6 days.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book to while away the hours of a long train journey subject to endless delays. Little did I know that it would turn out to be one of the most stimulating, exciting and, yes, frightening books I have ever read. I couldn't put it down.
Like most people, I had thought that there was no mystery about the Black Death: it was the result of bubonic plague spread by rats and fleas. How wrong I was. Return of the Black Death very effectively explodes this myth and reveals the truth of the most appalling killer disease known to mankind. Not only was it an entirely different disease but, worryingly, it might still be around somewhere, waiting for the right time to strike again. The part of the book where the authors postulate how the Black Death might spread through the world today had my hair standing on end.
In summary, this is a gripping read which turns history on its head and suggests major thought-provoking consequences for us today.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Government's own Health advice web site states that Plague is caused by Yersinia pestis, the bacterium transmitted along the infamous rat-flea-human route.

This book proves that, whilst bubonic plague is caused this way, bubonic plague could not have been the agent responsible for the Black Death and many subsequent outbreaks of severe mortality, as it does not follow the correct epidemiology expected for such a vector. Bubonic plague expands at a few miles a year, whereas the Black Death covered an entire continent in two years.

A good book, possibly a bit lacking in scientific detail at times, and certainly plays too much on the modern need to feel that 'it might all happen again tomorrow'. It might, but that shouldn't really take up so much space here.

Certainly worth buying; it inspired me to look into it deeper.
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