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The Black Death in Egypt and England: A Comparative Study 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0292722132
ISBN-10: 0292722133
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I cannot think of a finer piece of work that I have read in comparative history. . . . I suspect this work will quickly become a classic in its field and can serve as a model for the comparative study of the effects of the Black Death in other regions of the world.Uli" (Schamiloglu Chair, Central Asian Studies Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Review

"I cannot think of a finer piece of work that I have read in comparative history. . . . I suspect this work will quickly become a classic in its field and can serve as a model for the comparative study of the effects of the Black Death in other regions of the world.Uli" (Schamiloglu Chair, Central Asian Studies Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 207 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1 edition (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292722133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292722132
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,996,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Henry Berry on August 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Borsch's comparison is based on the different kinds of ownership of land in the two societies in the 14th century, the time when the Black Death struck Europe and the Middle East. "In contrast to their Egyptian counterparts, English landholders had a much more direct economic interest in the welfare and management of their estates." The basic reason for this was that the English landholders could pass their land on to their heirs. By contrast, the large majority of Egyptian landowners were "specialized warriors known as Malmuks" who could not pass their land on to their heirs; and even their ownership of it was tenuous in the factional conflicts and intrigues in Egypt at the time. Borsch finds the answer to his main question of why England managed to recover economically after the Black Death while Egypt did not in this difference in land ownership. A considerable proportion of each country's population, including those who worked the land, succumbed to the plague; which some historians have likened to a nuclear holocaust in the areas it afflicted. England's system of land ownership was the decisive factor in its economic recovery in the years after the Black Death. In order to keep their land productive and thus valuable, England's landowners were obliged to adapt to the new power the surviving workers had gained in the agrarian economy with the loss of so many to the disease. The Malmuks in Egypt, on the other hand, had scant incentive to make any adaptations to hold up the value of land they had only a precarious ownership of. Borsch draws out the economic, social, and to a lesser degree the historical effects of this fundamental difference between English and Egyptian landownership in the late medieval period. An assistant professor teaching Islamic and Middle Eastern history as well as history of the world and Western civilization, he has the right learning for this work.
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