Plagues and Peoples


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Upon its original publication, Plagues and Peoples was an immediate critical and popular success, offering a radically new interpretation of world history as seen through the extraordinary impact--political, demographic, ecological, and psychological--of disease on cultures. From the conquest of Mexico by smallpox as much as by the Spanish, to the bubonic plague in China, to the typhoid epidemic in Europe, the history of disease is the history of humankind. With the identification of AIDS in the early 1980s, another ...

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Mar 5, 2009

Highly recommended

Great book for anyone interested in disease, society, culture, world civilization, and most of all - history. Plagues and Peoples is a tale of the oppressor and the oppressed, the host and the victim. The book is wonderful in helping understand both separate historical events and the general trends that shaped human history, especially in its early stages.
Reading the book also raises one's appreciation for various cultures and societies that have existed in various corners of the globe, with their own little ways of dealing with life, overshadowed by deadly pathogens they had no idea about.
McNeill is particularly good at describing the social nature of disease. Plague and pestilence will never simply be the random ravages of a nasty germ having read this book. Epidemics follow predictable patterns and exact damage in a systematic manner that is not be overlooked by a student of society.
Disease is not just thickly woven into histories of nations, but is also uniquely understood by those that encounter it. The religious, philosophic, and poetic grappling with hellish affliction is a sight to behold.
A classic that deserves the title.

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