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Description - The Black Death and the Transformation of the West by David Herlihy

It ravaged a continent for over a century, killed millions of people and decimated economies. The Black Death is considered by many to have been the great watershed in medieval history. In this book the author challenges historical thinking about this disastrous period. He asks was the Black Death bubonic plague? Nobody ever mentions rats dying in large numbers. Were buboes the main symptoms? Doctors of the day and evidence from the lives of saints describe "freckles" as often as buboes. Looking beyond the view of the Black Death as unmitigated catastrophe, the author sees in it the birth of technological advance as societies struggle to create labour-saving devices in the wake of population losses. Medieval Europe had reached a demographic impasse. It was the precipitous drop in population that spurred the changes that propelled Europe into the modern era. Population controls shifted from natural checks to preventative measures, including new inheritance practices, revised marriage customs and birth control. New evidence for the plague's role in the establishment of universities, spread of Christianity, dissemination of vernacular cultures and even the rise of nationalism demonstrates that this cataclysmic event marked a true turning point in history.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780674076136
ISBN-10: 0674076133
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 140mm x mm)
Pages: 128
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 28-Sep-1997
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - David Herlihy

David Herlihy (d. 1991) was Barnaby Conrad and Mary Critchfield Keeney Professor and Professor of History at Brown University. Samuel K. Cohn, Jr., is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Glasgow. Among his books are The Cult of Remembrance and the Black Death and Women in the Streets: Essays on Sex and Power in the Italian Renaissance.

Books By David Herlihy

Mediaeval Households by David Herlihy
Paperback, January 1985
History Of Feudalism by David Herlihy
Paperback, June 1979