Writer, merchant, and spy Daniel Defoe, now best known for Robinson Crusoe, presents a fictionalized first-person account of the Great Plague that afflicted London in 1665.
The Journal of the Plague Year: London, 1665 offers detailed, journalistic scenes of shuttered London homes and storefronts and dead bodies on the streets. In some parts of the city, infected families were quarantined as the death toll climbed toward 100,000 and a sense of paranoia and terror pervaded the city.
In an American accent, Nelson Runger serves up a crisp, steady performance of Defoe’s chronicle of a historical disaster.
(P) Recorded Books, Inc.
"...the work stands as the most reliable and comprehensive account of the Great Plague that we possess." (Anthony Burgess)
Although fiction, Defoe investigated the facts of the 1665 London plague and wrote this story as if from a first person perspective. As part of my research on SARS, I found this story to be very interesting. Many details are covered, from macro economic impacts to the very detailed descriptions of individuals trying to cope with the epidemic. What I got out of this book was how universal human response is to an epidemic. The very issues Defoe struggles with, such as "locking up house" were just as controversial during the SARS outbreak in Taiwan (now called quarantine).
I think Runger does a good reading job, matching his style to the content. If you like university lectures and very detailed historical information, then this book is for you. If not, you may have a hard time to stay awake.
My wife was glued to this book, amazed by the facts. It is not a book one listens to for fun or entertainment. It is not a novel it reads more like a journal, a first hand account. It is story after story of a terrifying disease and how it not only destroys the body but the soul as well. One must have a deep interest in the plague or any plague to fully appreciate and understand the affect such a fearful ordeal will have on humanity. If this is the reason one listens to this book, then it is truly and eye-opening account and worth every minute.
Thank you Audible for including it in your book list!
I ordered this book because I've enjoyed other Defoe stories (Moll Flanders and Robinson Crusoe) and am fascinated by epidemics, but I found this story tedious. It is filled with accounts of how many people died in which parish during what week and other such details. I stuck with it for more than two hours without encountering anything that made me wish to continue.
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