Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In the Wake of the Plague

By Norman Cantor

I selected this book to read for background on the plague in Europe in the 14th century. The European History course I will teach in the fall begins with this catastrophic event. It was not quite what I expected. Norman Cantor is a respected medieval historian and I expected a detailed historiography of the events and the consequences of the plague on Western Europe. There was some of this, but also so detailed stories of individuals and how their deaths may have changed history. One of my favorite theories discussed in the book is that the death of Princess Joan before her marriage to the Prince of Castile was the beginning of the end of the Plantagenet rule of England. His arguments are strong and he makes an excellent case. Overall I learned a great deal about Europe after the plague and how politically and religiously it had changed. Although it dragged in some parts and I felt he repeated himself a great deal, I have some great information to share with my students in the fall.

Rating - B

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