A compilation of my notes from the book: Plagues and Peoples, by William H. McNeill (1976); complimented by my summarizing sub-headings.
As quoted by the Lancet behind the front cover of this book,
Professor McNeill is an American historian with a sound grasp of epidemiological principles.
As McNeill points out himself in this book (which can be seen immediately in the notes to follow), historians systematically gloss-over the significance of epidemic disease.
In choosing to read Plagues and Peoples third in my sequence of pandemic-themed books, I identified it as the one most complimentary to Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year: for while the latter is “the prototype of all accounts of great cities in times of epidemic”, the former has to be one of, if not the most substantial attempts at a historicalinterpretation of epidemics (—which is quite distinct from an epidemiological interpretation of history, I would add).
An arranged compilation of my notes from the book: Viruses and Man, by F. M. Burnet (1953).
As I said in introductions to the first and second posts of this article series, Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year was probably the best book to begin this study, as it seems to cover the whole spectrum of situations and incidents that can arise in a pandemic, whilst presenting them in an accessibly narrative form. Following Defoe’s most insightful story, I decided to select one of the academic books in my collection to read next—that being, Viruses and Man, by F. M. Burnet (1953).