Plague, Pestilence and Pandemic: Voices from History

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Media: BOOK - paperback, 336 pages
Author: P. Furtado
Year: 2021
ISBN: 9780500296134
Other: sketches, further reading, index
Publisher: Thames and Hudson

Humanity has always been struck by pestilence and pandemics, from the plagues of ancient Egypt to the pox that ravaged Europe in the Middle Ages, to Covid-19. People living through the crises have always recorded what they saw, what they felt, and what they did. Some presented sober facts laced with anecdote, while others produced emotional outpourings; moralists speculated on the origins of the horror, poets distilled the suffering. Doctors described how they were able to advance their understanding of disease and scientists how to cure it, while survivors and the families of victims gave the inside story of the nightmare that develops when a long-feared disease enters your home or your body.

There was a time when to read accounts of the Plague in Wittenburg by Martin Luther or the Great Plague of 1665 by Samuel Pepys – scenes of anguish and woe, empty streets, quarantined houses, closed businesses, overflowing graveyards, heroic doctors and nurses, quack remedies and charlatans – was to enter a disturbing and unfamiliar world. Today, to read the same words is to be hit by a jolt of recognition and understanding. As well as causing a huge loss of life, the Covid pandemic has taught us a great deal about ourselves and the way we live, illuminating tensions at the heart of society. This collection of intimate and revelatory first-hand accounts of pandemics through the ages bears witness to despair, rage, the blackest of humour, heartbreak and hope. These voices hold up a mirror to our own experiences of, and responses to, the crisis today.



Part 1: The Ancient World
 - Athenian Plague
 - Antonine Plague
Part 2: The Christian World
 - Plague of Justinian
 - Leprosy
 - The Black Death
 - Sweating Sickness
Part 3: Pandemics of the Age of Empire
 - Syphilis
 - New World Smallpox
 - Cicoliztli Epidemic
 - The Great Plague
Part 4: Cities, Science and Public Health
 - Cholera
 - Yellow Fever
 - Typhus and Typhoid Fever
 - Third Plague Epidemic
 - Smallpox: From Treatment to Eradication
Part 5: the 20th Century
 - 'Spanish Flu'
 - Poliomyelitis
 - Asian Flu and Hong Kong Flu
Part 6: Pandemics in a Globalized World
 - Ebola
 - Coronavirus
Further Reading
Sources of Illustrations


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Plague, Pestilence and Pandemic: Voices from History


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