Plagues in World History provides a comparative world history of catastrophic infectious diseases, including plague, smallpox, tuberculosis, cholera, influenza, and AIDS. Geographically, these diseases have spread across the entire globe; temporally, they stretch from the sixth century to the present. John Aberth considers not only the varied impact that disease has had upon human history but also the many ways in which people have been able to influence diseases simply through their cultural attitudes toward them. The author argues that the ability of humans to alter disease, even without the modern wonders of antibiotic drugs and other medical treatments, is an even more crucial lesson to learn now that AIDS, swine flu, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, and other seemingly incurable illnesses have raged worldwide. Aberth's comparative analysis of how different societies have responded in the past to disease illuminates what cultural approaches have been and may continue to be most effective in combating the plagues of today. --From publisher's description.
John Aberth received his PhD in medieval history from the University of Cambridge and has taught at various universities and colleges throughout Vermont, where he lives with his wife, horses, and cats. He specializes in the Black Death or plague of the late Middle Ages and is the author of The Black Death: The Great Mortality of 1348-1350: A Brief History with Documents, The First Horseman: Disease in Human History, and From the Brink of the Apocalypse: Confronting Famine, War, Plague and Death in the Later Middle Ages. He is currently working on a new book, Doctoring the Black Death: The Late Medieval Medical Response to Epidemic Disease, forthcoming from Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
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