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New Light on the Black Death Paperback – October 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0752435985 ISBN-10: 0752435981 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Tempus; 1 edition (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752435981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752435985
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,259,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mike Baillie is a leading expert in dendrochronology, or dating by means of tree-rings, and is the author of Exodus to Arthur: Catastrophic Encounters with Comets.

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Customer Reviews

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See all 7 customer reviews
It is a very interesting read.
Lynne Grey
If Mike Baillie is right, a great plague event might eventually be prevented not by medical science, but by rocket science - in the form of asteroid interdiction.
Fred Mrozek
This is a scientific book that reads like a detective novel.
Phung Minh Hoang

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Fred Mrozek on January 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." To that

we should add, that those who do not understand the past, though they may remember it,

are still at risk of repeating it. This book is an attempt to help us

understand what may have caused the Black Plague. And in so doing, we might

find out that the avoidance of a repeat may depend on a crew of folks whom you

probably least expect.

If the Black Plague and other previous plagues were merely diseases spread

by rats, why are there anomalous amounts of ammonia and nitrates

concentrated in the ice cores at depths that correspond to AD 1348, 1014,

626, 539 and 430 B.C. ? And why are there sharp climatological events in

the Dendrochronological(tree ring) record at many of these dates? What did

ancient authors try to tell us about these events? Which of these authors

credibility blossoms in the light of new evidence and which of them wilt?

What could the Siberian (Tunguska) atmospheric explosion in 1908 have to do

with understanding a great plague 600 years earlier?

If you read this book, you will be amazed at the detective work that must

have been required to write it. And you will be fortunate to have been "tipped off"

to a broader subject that will change the way we view the last 10,000 years of

human history. That subject is the interaction between the Earth and other

debris careening through our solar system in the forms of comets and

near-earth asteroids.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Zadius Sky on February 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Black Death was the infamous disaster event that I have studied in college a few years ago. During my studies, I have focused so much on the primary documents as well on the secondary sources on how such disaster came to be, seeing that it killed off two-third of the population and the after-effects. But, never once have I thought of the shocking connection between the comet impact and the event of Black Death of 1347 as I have just read this book by Mike Baillie, which profoundly changed my perspective.

I have been read quite few books and articles on the Black Death and came to learn, as "accepted" by scientific community, that the Black Death was spread by black rats (rattus rattus) from Asia area to Europe. But, Baillie questioned that notion and asked what if that Black Death was never a bubonic plague as everyone believed it was.

In "New Light on the Black Death," Baillie provided intriguing evidence, such as tree-rings, ice cores, as well the contemporary accounts to bring home the new perspective: that Black Death was likely caused by a comet impact. Not only he provided an evidence for the plague of 1348/9, but he also brings to attention of the previous events, such as the Justinian plague of AD 542 and the plague of Athens in AD 430.

Once again, this book certainly changed my perspective of the Black Death, questioned everything I have ever studied on the subject. Not only does this book question my knowledge on the subject, but it certainly made me ponder on the future cosmic disasters: "Will there be the next Black Death?"

Baillie's book is filled with fascinating and shocking scientific data. It consisted only 19 chapters, with roughly 205 pages as it's not very long book, but it certainly enthralled me to read it with a careful attention. And, this book is a truly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Allen I. Branson on February 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Unless you are a history buff specializing in pandemics you may well be thinking, "why would I care about a book on the Black Death?" I thought the same thing, until I read it at the recommendation of a friend. What a great read!

Not only did I learn a lot about the ways in which historical data is gathered from tree rings and ice core samples, Baillie relates all of that to world wide mythology in a way that, by the end of the book, starts making complete sense in a way it never did before. Suddenly, weird stories about heroes morphing into bizarre creatures in Ireland and dragons fighting battles in the air in China not only made sense but were pretty clearly different culture's ways of describing the same events.

In terms of historical studies, that is already interesting enough. The core of the book, however, is almost mind blowing. The point of it is this: not only was the Black Death likely due to the explosion of a comet or cometary fragment in Earth's atmosphere, but that these things likely happen far more frequently than anyone has imagined and on a fairly regular basis.

To prove to yourself that his hypothesis is at least feasible, do a search on the word "fireball" and see just how many are reported. You might notice something interesting in what you find. Not only are there far more sightings of these things that you'd think, they are on the increase! In other words, it looks as if we are heading into a danger zone in space much like during the time of the Black Death and several other times in history that have been probably incorrectly seen as pandemics.

One other point that is not explicitly made in the book but that bears thinking about is the effect on our weather of all of the dust that is brought in by these fireballs.
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