Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Great Mortality

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

The title explains it all, doesn't it?

A very reader-friendly history book.

My random thoughts:

The amount of filth, refuse, garbage and body wastes that people lived with in the past is staggering. Unimaginable. Best invention ever? indoor plumbing.

And the rats! ew. Ew. Ew.

I love time travel books; I love history books. Every time I get into one of those "wouldn't you like to see the past" modes, I will remember this books because I so would not survive the stink. I'd be curled up in a corner, trying not to breath thru my nose, in total mental shutdown.

Cool bits, that show how everything is connected (and yes, the study of history is important and yes, that includes having dates memorized and learning about dead people and empires and countries): the impact of the collapse of the Roman Empire was ginormous; as well as environmental issues impacted by those things no one had control over, like earthquakes, tsunamis, rain, heat, cold. I was also impressed with how international the plague was and how interlinked the world was, from China to Italy to Greenland. Also intriguing was the impact of the plague and the breakdown of community on society, economy, and religion.

And slave markets full of Ukrainians? Who knew?

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