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A Journal of the Plague Year (Dover Thrift Editions) 1St Edition Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
This is not a spellbinding or even captivating read. It is full of statistics and seemingly never ending references to specific neighborhoods and precincts as existed in London at the time. Much of the book is taken up with body counts and comparisons of mortality from time to time in the different areas of London and its environs. As most people have no geographic knowledge of the area, this is largely wasted, except to realize that, "Gee, a lot of people died in Whiteside, but not so many in Wapping."
Sprinkled throughout this relatively short work (under 200 dense pages), are interesting anecdotes, and this is the beauty of the book; the actions and reactions of everyday people to the scourge within their midst. How did the authorities address the problem? What was the medical knowledge and prevailing treatments as existed at the time? What did people in London do when commerce and society effectively broke down? What did they do to acquire food? How were the bodies disposed of? All intriguing and practical questions that are asked and answered herein.Read more ›
While essentially a work of fiction, the level of detail, the statistics, anecodotes and endless conjecturing give the work a strong semblance of veracity. The reader is compelled to read on through the terrifying details of a plague that in all probability took around 100,000 lives during the year that it raged. One of the interesting features of the book is the conflict between science and religion, is a continuous thread throughout. Defoes author H.F. writes in a profoundly religous tone, early on in the book a group of mocking aetheists who coarsely drink and curse their way through the plague are, each and everyone, struck down and deposited in the communal grave before two pages are out. At the same time there is a recognition of scientific attempts to understand and control the plague, the shutting up of houses is much discussed as well as the variety of "preventatives" that offer protection from infection. Much of the book is given over to a variety of speculations, and given the state of medical science at the time of writing a good many of the conjectures verge on the amusing. The author even tells of one theory, of small organisms in the blood, only to scoff at it while the modern reader may sense as good a description of bacteria as that age could furnish.Read more ›
The style of writing is old (understandably).
It is worth considering if interested in plagues or London history...but for such a small book it took a lot of time to get through it.
For anyone interested in the subject this is actually a more detailed and fascinating account than the one in Samuel Pepys diary of the same period. A short read but one that will truly result in an understanding of a dark episode in London's history.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is such an excellent first-person account of the 1665 London Plague. It was written many years later but it reads like a real first-person account. Read morePublished 1 month ago by SRA
Are you kidding? Is Daniel Defoe a good writer? Of course, and this is one of his most interesting books. I like Moll Flanders a bit more, but still it is sort of a toss up.Published 3 months ago by VMDoland
Ebola (Black Plague) survivor of the London plague writes a daily journal of the horrific events as they unfold. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Our Favorite Customer
I am really looking forword to reading this book as I am really interested in the plague of the 1300s.Published on April 27, 2014 by Liza Kimball
This was a good read, and I really like how the author put numbers and showed the reader how many people were dead by the plague, and how he wrote the book! Read morePublished on March 15, 2014 by Skay