Design a site like this with
Get started

Pandemics in Perspective: Plagues and Peoples

A compilation of my notes from the book: Plagues and Peoples, by William H. McNeill (1976); complimented by my summarizing sub-headings.

Plagues and Peoples: a historical interpretation by an epidemiologically-learned historian.*

*i.e. Pandemics in perspective—par excellence!

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 historical interpretation of epidemics (—which is quite distinct from an epidemiological interpretation of history, I would add).

Continue reading “Pandemics in Perspective: Plagues and Peoples”