In The Wake Of The Plague: The Black Death And The World It Made (Central Asian Studies)

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9780743430357: In The Wake Of The Plague: The Black Death And The World It Made (Central Asian Studies)
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IN THE WAKE OF THE PLAGUE is a social history, not just of collapse but of rebirth. It is a fascinating investigation into how the Plague rocked the sociological, commercial, cultural and religious foundations of medieval civilisation. Arguably the greatest biomedical disaster in history - the Black Death wiped out 40% of the European population - the results are not confined to figures of mass fatality. They are diverse and long standing, extending to the present day: with the population depleted, the peasants could claim land for themselves, creating Europe's first class of independent farmers, hastening the modern capitalist era; the Catholic Church, powerless in the face of such disaster, watched as the faith healers became influential; efforts to block windows and doors against supposed airborne germs with woven tapestries generated a whole textile industry. Cantor presents an eclectic mix of individuals directly affected by the plague, some are well known today - Robin Hood, Richard the Lionheart, Edward the Black Prince - others have been forgotten by history books but have valuable stories to tell. Underlying this vivid recreation of a grave chapter of history is an interrogation of the medical facts. How closely linked are the Plague and the infamous 1918 flu epidemic? Is it something closer to today's medical phobia, Mad Cow disease? Cantor undermines the confidence we have in our world, doused in disinfectant and dosed with antibiotics, challenging us: can we be sure the Black Death is extinct - or is it just dormant?

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Arguably the greatest biomedical disaster in history, the Black Death of the 14th century wiped out 40 per cent of Europe's population, rocking the sociological, commercial, cultural and religious foundations of medieval civilisation. However, the results are not confined to figures of mass fatality; they extend to the present day. The surviving peasants could claim land for themselves, creating Europe's first class of independent farmers, thus hastening modern capitalism. Powerless in the face of such a disaster, the Catholic Church watched the rise of faith healers. And efforts to block windows and doors against supposedly airborne germs with woven tapestries generated a whole textile industry. Cantor presents an eclectic mix of individuals directly affected by the plague, among them such well-known names as Robin Hood, Richard the Lionheart and the Black Prince; nameless others include mercenaries, mystics, priests and surgeons. The author penetrates a haze of myths to offer the reader a social history, not just of collapse but of rebirth. And underlying it all is an interrogation of the medical facts. Was the Black Death some virulent form of anthrax?

How closely linked are the plague and the 1918 flu pandemic? Or might it be something closer to Mad Cow disease? Cantor undermines the confidence we have in our world, doused in disinfectant and dosed with antibiotics, and challenges us with the question: can we be sure the Black Death is extinct - or is it just dormant?

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Cantor, Norman F.
ISBN 10: 0743430352 ISBN 13: 9780743430357
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