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Cover

Plague: A Very Short Introduction

Second Edition

Paul Slack

June 2021

ISBN: 9780198871118

160 pages
Paperback
174x111mm

Very Short Introductions

Price: £8.99

Throughout history plague has caused some of the greatest periods of hardship for humanity, from the Black Death to the Great Plague of London. This book explores the causes of plague, the presence of plague in art and literature, and the lasting impact of the disease on how people and governments behave when threatened by epidemic crises.

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Description

Throughout history plague has caused some of the greatest periods of hardship for humanity, from the Black Death to the Great Plague of London. This book explores the causes of plague, the presence of plague in art and literature, and the lasting impact of the disease on how people and governments behave when threatened by epidemic crises.

  • Explores the historical impact of the plague over the centuries, focussing on how people coped with the disease and how governments fought it
  • Examines the impact of plague on settlements, local histories, art and literature, and in film
  • Explores the causes of historic plagues
  • Reflects upon the impact plagues of the past have had on modern ideas of public health
  • Part of the Very Short Introductions series - over ten million copies sold worldwide

New to this edition

  • Considers the modern day resonance of the plague with issues such as Coronavirus
  • Incorporates very recent evidence on the nature of plague gained from work on ancient DNA, which settles some old disputes about plague
  • Includes recently published work on plague in the Middle East

About the Author(s)

Paul Slack, Emeritus Professor of Early Modern Social History, Oxford University

Paul Slack is Emeritus Professor of Early Modern Social History at Oxford University. He is the author of The Impact of Plague in Tudor and Stuart England, (OUP , 1990), and The Invention of Improvement: Information and Material Progress in Seventeenth-Century England, (OUP 2015), which won the Samuel Pepys Prize for 2015. He has been the Editor of the journal Past and Present, is a Fellow of the British Academy, and was Principal of Linacre College, Oxford, until 2010.

Table of Contents

    Acknowledgements
    List of Illustrations
    Introduction
    1:Plague: what's in a name??
    2:Pandemics and epidemics
    3:Big impacts: the Black Death
    4:Private horrors
    5:Public health
    6:Enduring images
    7:The lessons of histories
    References
    Further Reading
    Index

Reviews

"Review from previous edition Slack takes a thematic approach to the global and comparative history of plague that provides a wonderful survey for the newcomer to the topic, while still providing food for thought to readers already well versed in the literature." - Patrick Wallis, LPS

"This book is not a textbook on Pasteurella pestis. Rather, using the disease it causes as a link, the text has the potential to attract the interest and attention of a wide range of readers, encompassing historical, social, geographical and economic factors and the role they played in changing European and wider social development. In these days of internet access, soundbites and the decline of text on paper, this book presents an excellent opportunity for those who wish for an absorbing and educational narrative, contained within an extremely portable package and with no risk of the battery losing its charge at an inconvenient moment." - The Bulletin of The Royal College of Pathologists, April 2013