This study describes the dramatic impact of infectious diseases on the rise and fall of civilizations. Plague demoralized the Athenian Army during war, and ravaged the Roman Empire. In the 16th century smallpox was the decisive agent that allowed Cortez with only 600 men to conquer the Aztec Empire, whose subjects numbered millions. As recently as 1918-19, an epidemic of influenza claimed 21 million victims and seemed to threaten civilization itself. Diseases such as syphilis, cholera, smallpox and malaria have been devastating to humanity for centuries. This book, through an impressive accumulation of evidence, demonstrates the central role of pestilence in human affairs and the extent to which it has changed the course of history.
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William H. McNeill is one of America's senior historians. He was professor of history at the University of Chicago for forty years before retiring in 1987. In the course of his career, he has published more than twenty books, inlcuding The Rise of the West: A History of Human Community, which won the National Book Award in 1964; Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force and Society Since 1000 A.D.; and Plagues and Peoples.Dr. McNeill was president of the American Historical Association in 1985. In 1996, he was the first non-European recipient of the Erasmus Prize, an annual award for exceptional contributions to European culture, society, and social science."From the Inside Flap:
Upon its original publication, "Plagues and Peoples was an immediate critical and popular success, offering a radically new interpretation of world history as seen through the extraordinary impact--political, demographic, ecological, and psychological--of disease on cultures. From the conquest of Mexico by smallpox as much as by the Spanish, to the bubonic plague in China, to the typhoid epidemic in Europe, the history of disease is the history of humankind. With the identification of AIDS in the early 1980s, another chapter has been added to this chronicle of events, which William McNeill explores in his new introduction to this updated editon.
Thought-provoking, well-researched, and compulsively readable, "Plagues and Peoples is that rare book that is as fascinating as it is scholarly, as intriguing as it is enlightening. "A brilliantly conceptualized and challenging achievement" (Kirkus Reviews), it is essential reading, offering a new perspective on human history.
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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Fair. A readable copy of the book which may include some defects such as highlighting and notes. Cover and pages may be creased and show discolouration. Bookseller Inventory # GOR007810573
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 1994. Soft cover. Book Condition: Good. 0140233644. Bookseller Inventory # 136551