Plague: A Very Short Introduction [NOOK Book]

Overview


This Very Short Introduction explores the historical impact of plague over the centuries, the ways in which it has been interpreted, and the powerful images it has left behind in art and literature. Paul Slack assesses its causes, which have often been disputed and are now being illuminated by microbiologists and archaeologists, and he looks at possible reasons for its periodic disappearance from whole continents. He shows what plague meant for those who suffered from it, and how governments began to fight ...
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Plague: A Very Short Introduction

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Overview


This Very Short Introduction explores the historical impact of plague over the centuries, the ways in which it has been interpreted, and the powerful images it has left behind in art and literature. Paul Slack assesses its causes, which have often been disputed and are now being illuminated by microbiologists and archaeologists, and he looks at possible reasons for its periodic disappearance from whole continents. He shows what plague meant for those who suffered from it, and how governments began to fight against it and in doing so invented modern notions of public health. His focus throughout the book is on how people coped with death and disease in epidemic crises.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780191623967
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford
  • Publication date: 3/22/2012
  • Series: Very Short Introductions
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,352,231
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Paul Slack is Emeritus Professor of Early Modern Social History at Oxford University and author of the classic study The Impact of Plague in Tudor and Stuart England.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1. Plague: What's in a name?
2. Pandemics and epidemics
3. BigiImpacts: The black death
4. Private horrors
5. Public health
6. Enduring images
7. The lessons of histories
References
Further reading

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Informative

    Plague is the prototypical deadly and devastating infectious disease. Over the period of more than a millennium, plague outbreaks have decimated many parts of the world, but perhaps nowhere more so than in Europe. Almost all of the European medieval life has been lived in the shadow of the possible plague outbreaks, but the majority of the main outbreaks have taken place between the fourteenth and the seventeenth centuries. It is hard to understate the impact that the plague has had on the course of European history, but also culture and arts.

    Despite its impact and prominence in the middle ages, there is still a lot that we don’t know about the plague. Ever since scientists had been able to attribute infectious diseases to microbes, there was a question about which particular microbe was responsible for plague. The general consensus has emerged that the bubonic plague had been caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, but the kinds of disease that this bacteria cause have certain important differences with the medieval plague. The most likely reason for this is that bacteria, like other living organisms, and sometimes evolve rather rapidly.

    This short introduction is rather comprehensive for its small format. The first two chapters are dedicated to the biological and epidemiological characteristics of the plague. The rest of the book deals with the cultural and social impact of this disease, in all its ramifications. The book is well written, and it aims at the general audience. Some familiarity with the basic biology and European medieval history are recommended, but they are not essential. It is an interesting and intellectually stimulating little book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2014

    Historical Prospective

    This book was written from an historical prospective delving into the personal, architectural, cultural, arts, religious and literary impacts plague had on communities and countries. It was interesting, but not quite what I was expecting. For my taste, too much on the arts and literary aspects. It was rather redundant in the narrative.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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