In Justinian's Flea, William Rosen tells the story of history's first pandemic - a plague seven centuries before the Black Death that killed tens of millions, devastated the empires of Persia and Rome, left a path of victims from Ireland to Iraq, and opened the way for the armies of Islam. Weaving together evolutionary microbiology, economics, military strategy, ecology, and ancient and modern medicine, Rosen offers a sweeping narrative of one of the great hinge moments in history, one that will appeal to readers of John Kelly's The Great Mortality, John Barry's The Great Influenza, and Jared Diamond's Collapse.
©2007 William Rosen; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
This book is WAY... too detailed. The narrative gets lost time and again. Some sections are incredibly boring. I think the author is just trying to show how much he knows.
I love history and looked forward listening to this story. The title was intriguing. Then the reality hit me: deadly boring. The writer tries to cramp whole centuries in one story and the narrator just spouts fact, figures, names, and places in a monotonous toon. After the first 40 minutes, I tried skipping forward in the hope to reach the real flea story. Didn't happen. This is the first book, of my 240 books, that I didn't finish. Not worth my money.
First, listen to a sample, I wish I had. If this narrator doesn't put you to sleep then you have a serious case of insomnia. I suppose in some ways his voice does fit the book, tedious, and profoundly uninteresting. I love history, I read/listen to history books often, quite often. I have never stopped listening to one because I just couldn't take it anymore, at least not until now. If you are interested in Justinian, or the effects of the plague, find a book that actually talks about them. This book is not among those that do. As for the narrator somebody please buy this guy an inflection (and frankly, yes, I could do it better, much better). As Monty Python once put it so well.."run away..run away."
the book itself seemed interesting but the narrator was so flat and boring as to make it unlistinable. A complete waste, I reallly wouldn't recommend it.
I had great expectations of learning anout the history of Europe and the impact of the plague, just as promised in the description..unfortunately, the most interesting connections were made in the short epilogue while the rest of the book was more an endless summary of what roman emperor, general, etc. did what when and how long....maybe I was expecting the wrong thing...this was a tough one to finish, not helped by the reader who has the most monotone voice and did not help convey enthusiasm for the story....
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