21 Sep The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, The Most Devastating Plague of all Time | John Kelly
2020: Book #26
How do you understand a pandemic?
You read a book about The Black Death, also known as the plague from the 1300’s.
John Kelly’s book, “The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, The Most Devastating Plague of all Time”, is an easy read.
It should come with a warning.
There’s real gore.
You’ll read of eyewitness accounts of people dying with plague.
You should bring a strong stomach.
“The early winter months of 1316 brought more suffering. As food grew costlier, people ate bird dung, family pets, mildewed wheat, corn and faintly, in desperation, they ate one another. In Ireland, where the thud of shovels and the tearing of flesh from bone echoed through the dark, wet nights, the starving “extracted the bodies of the dead from the cemeteries and dug out the flesh from their skulls and ate it.” In England, where they consider the Irish indecorous, only prisoners ate one another. “Incarcerated thieves,” wrote the monk John de Trokelowe, “…devoured each other when they were half alive.” As the hunger intensified, the unspeakable became spoken about. “Certain people…because of excessive hunger devoured their own children,” wrote a German monk; another contemporary reported, “In many places, parents, after slaying their children, and children their parents, devoured the remains.”
Also, you’ll discover how people responded to the plague.
It’s pretty much how people are responding to the pandemic.
Is it worth your time? Yes.
You’ll be shocked and amazed at how much history repeats itself when we don’t learn lessons from the past.
The last chapter is about Plague Deniers.
Yes, there are scholars who deny the plague happened.
Let’s note, there’s not many of them and their arguments are flawed.
But it’s amazing how this book mimics the current pandemic.
Informative and gave me hope that we will emerge from this and be better because of it.
I give it 4 stars out of a possible 5.
That’s book #26 for 2020.
26 more to go.
Leaders are readers.
If you want to be a better leader…be a reader.