The Great Mortality : An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time

3.88 avg rating
( 5,232 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780060006921: The Great Mortality : An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time

A compelling and harrowing history of the Black Death epidemic that swept through Europe in the mid–14th century killing 25 million people. It was one of the most devastating human disasters in history.

"The bodies were sparsely covered that the dogs dragged them forth and devoured them . And believing it to be the end of the world, no one wept for the dead, for all expected to die." Agnolo di Turo, Siena, 1348

In just over 1000 days from 1347 to 1351 the 'Black Death' swept across medieval Europe killing 30% of it's population. It was a catastrophe that touched the lives of every individual on the continent. The deadly Y. Pestis virus entered Europe by Genoese galley at Messina, Sicily in October 1347. By the spring of 1348 it was devastating the cities of central Italy, by June 1348 it had swept in to France and Spain, and by August it had reached England. One graphic testimony can be found at St Mary's, Ashwell, Hertfordshire, where an anonymous hand carved a harrowing inscription for 1349: 'Wretched, terrible, destructive year, the remnants of the people alone remain.'

According to the Foster scale, a kind of Richter scale of human disaster, the plague of 1347–51 is the second worst catastrophe in recorded history. Only World War II produced more death, physical damage, and emotional suffering. It is also the closest thing that Defence Analysts compare a thermonuclear war to – in geographical extent, abruptness and casualties.

In The Great Mortality John Kelly retraces the journey of the Black Death using original source material – diary fragments, letters, manuscripts – as it swept across Europe. It is harrowing portrait of a continent gripped by an epidemic, but also a very personal story narrated by the individuals whose lives were touched by it.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

A book chronicling one of the worst human disasters in recorded history really has no business being entertaining. But John Kelly's The Great Mortality is a page-turner despite its grim subject matter and graphic detail. Credit Kelly's animated prose and uncanny ability to drop his reader smack in the middle of the 14th century, as a heretofore unknown menace stalks Eurasia from "from the China Sea to the sleepy fishing villages of coastal Portugal [producing] suffering and death on a scale that, even after two world wars and twenty-seven million AIDS deaths worldwide, remains astonishing." Take Kelly's vivid description of London in the fall of 1348: "A nighttime walk across Medieval London would probably take only twenty minutes or so, but traversing the daytime city was a different matter.... Imagine a shopping mall where everyone shouts, no one washes, front teeth are uncommon and the shopping music is provided by the slaughterhouse up the road." Yikes, and that's before just about everything with a pulse starts dying and piling up in the streets, reducing the population of Europe by anywhere from a third to 60 percent in a few short years. In addition to taking readers on a walking tour through plague-ravaged Europe, Kelly heaps on the ancillary information and every last bit of it is captivating. We get a thorough breakdown of the three types of plagues that prey on humans; a detailed account of how the plague traveled from nation to nation (initially by boat via flea-infested rats); how floods (and the appalling hygiene of medieval people) made Europe so susceptible to the disease; how the plague triggered a new social hierarchy favoring women and the proletariat but also sparked vicious anti-Semitism; and especially, how the plague forever changed the way people viewed the church. Engrossing, accessible, and brimming with first-hand accounts drawn from the Middle Ages, The Great Mortality illuminates and inspires. History just doesn't get better than that. --Kim Hughes

About the Author:

John Kelly, who holds a graduate degree in European history, is the author and coauthor of ten books on science, medicine, and human behavior, including Three on the Edge, which Publishers Weekly called the work of "an expert storyteller." He lives in New York City.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Kelly, John
Published by Harper
ISBN 10: 0060006927 ISBN 13: 9780060006921
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Your Online Bookstore
(Houston, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0060006927 Ships promptly. Bookseller Inventory # HCI8385SFGG070517H0108

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
8.68
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Kelly, John
Published by Harper
ISBN 10: 0060006927 ISBN 13: 9780060006921
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Ohmsoft LLC
(Lake Forest, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper. Book Condition: Brand New. Ships from USA. FREE domestic shipping. Bookseller Inventory # 0060006927

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
16.65
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

John Kelly
ISBN 10: 0060006927 ISBN 13: 9780060006921
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Castle Rock
(Pittsford, NY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97800600069211.0

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
14.95
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.05
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Kelly, John
Published by Harper 2005-02-01 (2005)
ISBN 10: 0060006927 ISBN 13: 9780060006921
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller
M and N Media
(Acworth, GA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper 2005-02-01, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. First Edition. 0060006927 We guarantee all of our items - customer service and satisfaction are our top priorities. Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Bookseller Inventory # TM-0060006927

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
17.34
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.05
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

John Kelly
ISBN 10: 0060006927 ISBN 13: 9780060006921
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
READERS PRIDE
(PLANO, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Hardcover. Book Condition: BRAND NEW. NEW Book in Mint Condition -- Great DEAL !! Fast Shipping -- Friendly Customer Service -- Buy with Confidence!. Bookseller Inventory # RP0060006927BN

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
18.43
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.02
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

John Kelly
ISBN 10: 0060006927 ISBN 13: 9780060006921
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
AMAZINGBOOKDEALS
(IRVING, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Hardcover. Book Condition: BRAND NEW. BRAND NEW. Fast Shipping. Prompt Customer Service. Satisfaction guaranteed. Bookseller Inventory # 0060006927BNA

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
19.48
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.05
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

John Kelly
Published by Harper (2005)
ISBN 10: 0060006927 ISBN 13: 9780060006921
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0060006927

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
28.15
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Kelly, John
Published by Harper (2005)
ISBN 10: 0060006927 ISBN 13: 9780060006921
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 2
Seller
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110060006927

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
27.81
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.29
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Kelly, John
Published by Harper
ISBN 10: 0060006927 ISBN 13: 9780060006921
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Cloud 9 Books
(Wellington, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0060006927 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.1016457

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
47.26
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.82
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds