Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Grandes Pestes De La Historia” as Want to Read:
Grandes Pestes De La Historia
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Grandes Pestes De La Historia

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  241 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A newly revised edition of an established classic in the history of medicine.
Arising from collaboration between a doctor and a historian, Disease and History offers the general reader a wide-ranging and most accessible account of some of the ways in which disease has left its often dramatic mark on the past.
It reviews, for example, the impact made by bubonic plague and
Paperback, 264 pages
Published May 28th 2005 by El Ateneo
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Grandes Pestes De La Historia, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Grandes Pestes De La Historia

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Anne Homeschooling-Mama
This was a riveting read - must have been as it took less than 24 hours to devour cover to cover.
The author does a really good job of linking disease with the various twists and turns of history, while posing some thought-provoking questions such as: would Russian history have been different had young Alexi *not* been stricken with haemophilia; how might the history of the US been altered had not mass immigration from Ireland occurred in the wake of the Potato Famine?
The author points out how qu
Charlene Vickers
New edition is already dated, and some non-medical assumptions are very wrongheaded.

Examples of the first: it's asserted that Henry VIII had syphilis, that plague is properly called "bubonic plague", and that Queen Victoria was a carrier of Hemophilia A. None of these are true in the least, but to be fair the authors couldn't have known of these errors even in 2000. However, their analysis of history smacks too much of "evil royals/patricians/etc. keeping the common man down", which is hardly f
Oct 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, but needs a good editor to deal with typos and sentence structure.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This book provided a lot of food for the imagination. What would have happened if Henry VIII hadn't had syphillis? No Church of England! I only wish the book had been longer.
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly interesting book. Lots of good insights, into the impact of disease states on history, some of which I had never heard before. Some of it was repetitive, but for the most part Cartwright brought into malaria and syphillis especially with Henry the VIII that I had not read or heard. Most people should have some kind of background knowledge about Victoria's sons and grandsons, and the impact of Hemophilia on Russian history. The writing was excellent...I had a horrible time putting it d ...more
Michael Leedom
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great overview of almost a dozen different prominent diseases, all placed in the context of relevant history. I held back on one star because the focus can be a little inconsistent from chapter to chapter. One of the better ones was The Mystery of Syphilis.
Dakota Waddell
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little dated (published in 1972) but overall good. Last chapter is slightly preachy and full of gloom, but strikes true.
Katie O'daire
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some painfully rose-colored descriptions of slavery but overall a very excellent and scientifically sound book.
Jun 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Siempre resulta estimulante estudiar la historia desde un ángulo distinto. El cuento de las batallas aprendidas con nombres y cifras, los gobiernos que asumen y son derrocados, imperios que se levantan y que se desmoronan puede ser interesante, pero nunca tan sabroso como el detalle, lo cotidiano, lo que parece "irrelevante" para las grandes pinceladas de la historia que transforman en épico algo que es simplemente cotidiano.

Las pestes, las enfermedades, la historia de la medicina enrevesada con
Gavin Evans
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a welcome return of a classic - a wonderful social history of disease through the ages, written by an eminent historian and an eminent physician. This pair manage to combine good story-telling with solid medical science, which is explained in a way that a layman like me can appreciate and understand. Together, they added not only to my medical knowledge, but also to my historical understanding. For example, having recently read War and Peace for the first time, it was enlightening to lea ...more
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book making the argument that disease has made a major impact on history which has been a critical factor often overlooked by historians. It's from 1972, so it needs some updating. It was also followed by two much better books, "Plagues and Peoples" by William McNeill, from 1976, and "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond from 1997. I think we are convinced now that disease has had a major effect on history. All three of the books show how devastating the introduction of European d ...more
Dec 27, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Throughout history there have been all kinds of diseases roaming this planet and affecting people and their lives. Disease has played a very peculiar part in history. It has vanished whole towns or races. Disease has even turned into an option when trying to control or kill people. There's a reazon for biological weapons in our modern world. And up to a certain point we could think of some diseases as nature's own weapon against humanity.

This book gives us a very interesting tour through disease
Apr 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I loved the apocalyptic warnings at the end of the book--it's something I've long thought about (since reading the Poisonwood Bible, maybe?) that disease is nature's great equalizer. Survival of the fittest applies to micro-organisms as well as other species, and our antibiotic-dependent society is brewing some powerful strains. And even if that weren't the case, a plague sweeps through every few hundred years, as history shows, and whittles down our numbers, just like any good predator will do ...more
Mary Hollingsworth
This is a fascinating account of the impact that disease has had on the history of the human race, strongly recommended for anyone who has ever wondered about the interplay between pestilence, famine and war. The authors, an historian and a doctor, use their joint skills to show how Man's ambitions have long been thwarted by outbreaks of deadly illnesses, bacterial, viral, genetic and others. The book shows, for example, how Napoleon's invasion of Russia failed after his armies were decimated by ...more
Steven Peterson
Mar 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting effort to link disease with human history. As such, it is a readable account of a number of examples.

For one, how disease helped undermine the security of the Roman Empire. For another, how the Black Death affected European history. For still one more example, how disease affected the outcome of Spanish efforts to subdue native Americans in the 16th century. Finally, how disease wasted Napoleon's army in his abortive invasion of Russia. And so on. . . .

Sometimes, the srgum
Donna Davis
Apr 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You don't need to be interested in medicine as a vocation to find this interesting. I kept it, during my teaching career, on a bookshelf where students who were finished a bit early with an assignment or test could find it. Young men in particular seemed to find the more gruesome details of the plague fascinating.

No knowledge is ever wasted. You may not have a lot of practical use for this, but it's still an interesting read.
Big H
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative and thought-inspiring. I believe that I would've given it a full five-star rating, though, if it had been written for a more general, layman's-term type of audience. Some of the wording was way over my head, using much medical jargon, and it would seem that the author just naturally assumed that anyone who would read this would be an expert in both medicine and history--nothing was explained or defined, which would've been beneficial.
May 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pure bliss!

I really enjoyed this. The writing is a bit stiff but it doesn't get dull, even at its most indulgent. I especially liked the chapters on plague, syphilis and typhus; not really the one about mass hysteria and social suggestion, I found it a bit weak - especially the part about witch hunting, which totally fails to address the gender issues at stake (literally!).

Byrdman50010 Minor
This book is and interesting look at how disease has impacted the unfolding of history. Some of the material is conjectual as it is alomost impossible to make diagnosis of a person long dead. However, the author does use specific knowledge of medicine to make educated speculations. I woul highly recommend the book to those interested in this admittedly morbid field.
Written in 1972 but valid today. This was a slow read but interesting to the point of making you think about how things might have changed if none of the European Royalty had had syphilis. Or if Napoleon's troops had not been weakened by typhus.Even Malaria and Haemophilia had profound influence in our existence today.

Worth reading if you enjoy the "What If" questions of life.
Goran Ovčariček
This is superbly written, general overview of the impact diseases might have had on society. The book is reasonable, rarely gives absolutes, mentions alternating theories and generally prefers a no-nonsense style which is very refreshing in not forcing their conclusions on the reader. Superb!
Mar 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
An interesting look at the history of plague, and how various illnesses have had an affect on the history of the world. The authors (1972) seem to be saying that there will be a further need for such disaster unless there is some lessening of the population growth around the world.
Beth Willis
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting, well written history of diseases and epidemics, including the bubonic plague, typhus, and syphilis. It's really a social history, so accessible to the layman, rather than just medical specialists.
Apr 21, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was incredibly let down by this book. as a medical lab tech diseases fascinate me and I was hoping for some genuine insight in this book. It was not to be found.
Irma J.
Informative yet really boring in some instances......just saying. :)
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Very insightful and interesting read.
Apr 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh why do I find typhoid, syphilis and the plague so fascinating?? Am I normal??
Michael Moats
Oct 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
interesting take on history. gives the inside story of war and the effects of disease in deciding outcomes, a bit dated but still revelant.
Dec 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read, especially the chapters on ancient disease. Obviously very dated with regard to 20th century events or even current knowledge, but a classic. Glad I finally found time to read it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Viruses, Plagues and History
  • The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866
  • The Secret of the Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing
  • The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat: The Story of the Penicillin Miracle
  • Fever Season: The Epidemic of 1878 That Almost Destroyed Memphis, and the People who Saved It
  • After the Funeral: The Posthumous Adventures of Famous Corpses
  • New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish Grandmothers: Tales of Parasites and People
  • Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82
  • Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure
  • Outbreak! Plagues That Changed History
  • The Doctors' Plague: Germs, Childbed Fever, and the Strange Story of Ignac Semmelweis
  • Time to Dance, a Time to Die: The Extraordinary Story of the Dancing Plague of 1518
  • Disease: The Story of Disease and Mankind's Continuing Struggle Against It
  • The Black Death
  • The Best Science Writing Online
  • Quinine: Malaria and the Quest for a Cure That Changed the World
  • The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity (Norton History of Science)
  • Man and Microbes: Disease and Plagues in History and Modern Times