In the Wake of the Plague

  • by Norman F. Cantor
  • Narrated by Bill Wallace
  • 6 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Much of what we know about the greatest medical disaster ever, the Black Plague of the fourteenth century, is wrong. The details of the Plague etched in the minds of terrified schoolchildren – the hideous black welts, the high fever, and the final, awful end by respiratory failure – are more or less accurate. But what the Plague really was, and how it made history, remain shrouded in a haze of myths.Norman Cantor, the premier historian of the Middle Ages, draws together the most recent scientific discoveries and groundbreaking historical research to pierce the mist and tell the story of the Black Death afresh, as a gripping, intimate narrative.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Just the ticket

I enjoy books that use an interdisciplinary approach to explore a subject, such as "Salt" by Mark Kurlansky or books by Jared Diamond. This book was right up my alley; I learned a lot that piqued my interest to learn more about the Middle Ages in Europe. The reader was an enjoyable combination of cultured-sounding and conversational. The pace was just right for me to follow the details (while driving) without rolling my eyes in impatience. It was relaxing, yet stimulating.
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- Nancy

Don't waste time or money

Cantor's lack of perception regarding the Medieval period shines through! The "facts" that he presents are a hodge-podge of mostly old scholarship firmly entrenched in the "horrible Dark Ages" mentality. Further, the presentation of the factual material rarely breaks the surface and is more misleading than informative. Cantor's attempts at humor and shock tactics might work well in a classromm of freshmen or sophmores in a compulsory course, but provide no relief for someone choosing to read, or hear, the book.

Unfortunately, I also found the reader's voice and intonation nerve-scratching.

Read Tuchman's "A Distant Mirror" instead (I don't recommend trying to listen to it) for an informative, well researched, and well written account of the 14th century horrors (and there certainly were horrors!). John Hatcher's "The Black Death: A Personal History" presents the impact of the plague in another highly readable book. For more scholarly coverage, try Ziegler's classic, "Black Death," or Aberth's more recent "On the Brink of the Apocalypse."
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- Anne

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-05-2003
  • Publisher: Recorded Books