Jill Hutchinson's Reviews > The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time

The Great Mortality by John   Kelly
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Sep 25, 09

bookshelves: world-history
Read in September, 2009

This book was recommended by a friend who shares my love of world history. Again, he was correct in assessing this little book as good reading.........I was fascinated by the march of the Black Death as a living entity across the continents of Asia, Europe and beyond (I was surprised that it actually reached Greenland). Utilizing the writings of survivors of the plague and "after the fact" observers, Kelly weaves a tale of unremitting horror, death, suffering and economic chaos as Y pestis struck down almost half the population that it touched.
He follows the Death from the wilds of Mongolia to the fateful journey of the Genoan ship that brought the sickness to the Continent. The story drags and becomes somewhat repetitive in spots as he moves with the plague from city to city. But it is a forgivable sin. The author has done an immense amount of research and in the last chapter he offers the arguments and theories of modern scientists regarding the question..... "was it bubonic plague, pneumonic plague, anthrax, or some unknown illness that died out after its dance of death?" A very interesting and informative telling of one of the greatest catastrophes in the history of mankind.
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