Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IN THE WAKE OF THE PLAGUE - THE BLACK DEATH & THE WORLD IT MADE by Norman F. Cantor (2001)

In the Wake of the Plague is a quick and easy read for a historical book.  After finishing The Great Mortality by Kelly I was interested in reading more on this fascinating event in history, so I decided to keep reading in this thematic area since I had another book covering the period.  By comparison, however, Kelly's book is far more informative.  Although Cantor was a credentialed historian with a Ph.D in history compared to Kelly's master's, I felt that Kelly spent more time researching and assembling his work.  Although Cantor includes sections of interesting historical information on the medieval era, it has a tendency to seem almost like 'filler' after a while.  In fact, he seems to spend more time on telling the stories of historical figures than he does telling the story of the Plague.  Toward the end of the book he does provide more specific treatment, yet even this has the sense of a light treatment, and I was surprised that he would give any credence to outlandish theories of the Plague's origin such as the theory that it came from outer space.  Like Kelly Cantor also spends a good amount of time expounding on the Jewish pogroms that occurred during the Plague years, and the heavy treatment at times seems out of proportion to the rest of the story - even in Kelly.  If I had to recommend one book over the other I would recommend Kelly's.  Interesting to note is that on Amazon the reviews are not very high for this book. 41% of the reviewers gave it only one star!

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