Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance's Reviews > In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made

In the Wake of the Plague by Norman F. Cantor
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's review
Jul 25, 09

Read in January, 2003

I've always been intrigued with the
Black Plague so I was thrilled to receive
this book from a fellow BCer. Then I
read several bad reviews of the book.
I am happy to say that this book is
much better than the reviews I'd read
had led me to believe. Details of life
just before and during the reign of
the Black Plague (the average woman
lived to be thirty; menopause usually
began around thirty; England's largest
city, London, only had about 70,000
people) were fascinating. I'd never
thought about the consequences of the
Plague (an economic depression as a
result of lack of labor; weakening of
the power of the king; need for laws
related to inheritability of lands
after death of owners; cruelties against
the Jews who were blamed for the Plague)
nor had I realized how long lasting the
consequences were. Curiously, I have
been listening to a part of From Dawn
to Decadence, the portion of the book
concerning WWI, on tape at the same time
I've been reading this book. The reaction
of people to suffering through WWI was to
become carefree and to usher in the Jazz
Age. The reaction of people to surviving
the Plague seems quite different; instead
of becoming nihilistic and self-involved,
the people after the Plague appear to have
become more concerned with guilt and death,
more weighed down.


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