In the Wake of the Plague by Norman F. Cantor

February 2003

Seeing as the Black Death is one of my all-time favorite topics, I was really excited to start this book - and really disappointed in it once I had started it. Right off the bat, the style of writing got on my nerves. Cantor may be a renowned medieval historian, but I'm not sure anyone ever taught him how to structure a sentence or use a comma. I can't stand it when I'm reading a book and I keep getting drawn up short on awkward phrases or incomprehensible sentences. This book, unfortunately, has copious amounts of both.

Aside from this, Cantor constantly goes off on odd, superfluous tangents, and he throws out random arguments (like how the Black Death was probably actually anthrax rather than bubonic plague) but never bothers to follow them up. He claims to tackle the cultural and sociological consequences of the Plague, but I've written papers for university history classes that went into more sociological depth than this book does.

I didn't particularly enjoy reading this book, and - sadly - I don't even feel as though I learned anything from it. All in all, a very disappointed thumbs-down from me.

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