Return of the Black DeathThe World's Greatest Serial Killer
If the twenty-first century seems an unlikely stage for the return of a 14th-century killer, the authors of Return of the Black Death argue that the plague, which vanquished half of Europe, has only lain dormant, waiting to emerge again—perhaps, in another form. At the heart of their chilling scenario is their contention that the plague was spread by direct human contact (not from rat fleas) and was, in fact, a virus perhaps similar to AIDS and Ebola. Noting the periodic occurrence of plagues throughout history, the authors predict its inevitable re-emergence sometime in the future, transformed by mass mobility and bioterrorism into an even more devastating killer.
Preface. Introduction. Chapter 1: Birth of a serial killer. Chapter 2: The Black Death crosses the Channel. Chapter 3: After the Black Death: the French connection. Chapter 4: Tentacles of the plague. Chapter 5: England under siege. Chapter 6: Portrait of an epidemic. Chapter 7: The Great Plague of London. Chapter 8: How bugs and germs operate. Chapter 9: Building an identikit of the killer. Chapter 10: Debunking history. Chapter 11: Bubonic plague - a myth revisited. Chapter 12: DNA analysis - a red herring. Chapter 13: The true story of an historic village. Chapter 14: The surprising link between AIDS and the Black Death. Chapter 15: Assembling the jigsaw puzzle. Chapter 16: The Black Death in hiding. Chapter 17: Why did haemorrhagic plague suddenly disappear? Chapter 18: The dangers of emergent diseases. Chapter 19: The return of the Black Death? Chapter 20: Is there something more terrible than the Black Death? Further reading. Index.
"...fascinating book...a gripping read..." (Perioperative Nursing, September 04) "...combines historical and biological research to undermine what we have long believed..." (Ancestors, Dec 05)
Professor Christopher Duncan is Emeritus Professor of Zoology at Liverpool University. He has written over 200 published papers and seven books. Susan Scott is a Social Historian specialising in demography. She has written 30 published papers and three books.
‘humour, accessible style and gripping disgust-factor…well written…a rare achievement’ The Lancet ‘a piece of astonishing medical detective work’ The Observer The Black Death was the most terrible and notorious serial killer of all time. It appeared out of the blue in Sicily in 1347 and went on to kill half of Europe in three years - in London it claimed 6000 lives a week at its peak - but a few years later it disappeared as suddenly and mysteriously as it had appeared. Using original parish records, wills and diaries Susan Scott and Christopher Duncan uncover the tragic and moving human stories behind the records: unsung heroes, bereaved parents, parted lovers and those who exploited the suffering for their own greed. Through careful detective work Scott and Duncan work to reveal the real cause of the terrible plague and uncovered some surprising and disturbing truths. Return of the Black Death proves conclusively that these plagues were not Bubonic Plague, as had been believed throughout the twentieth century, and were not spread by rat fleas, instead they were the result of a lethal and highly infectious Ebola-like virus transmitted directly from person to person. Currently in hiding, the Black Death, or something like it, could re-emerge at any time, and with today’s highly mobile community the consequences would be catastrophic.
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