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Publisher's Summary

By investigating thousands of descriptions of epidemics reaching back before the fifth-century-BCE Plague of Athens to the distrust and violence that erupted with Ebola in 2014, Epidemics challenges a dominant hypothesis in the study of epidemics, that invariably across time and space, epidemics provoked hatred, blaming of the "other," and victimizing bearers of epidemic diseases, particularly when diseases were mysterious, without known cures or preventive measures, as with AIDS during the last two decades of the 20th century. 

However, scholars and public intellectuals, especially post-AIDS, have missed a fundamental aspect of the history of epidemics. Instead of sparking hatred and blame, the history of epidemics traced in this study illustrates that more often epidemics inspired compassion and drew communities closer together.  

©2018 Samuel K. Cohn, Jr. (P)2018 Tantor

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

meh

It took me a while to get used to the narrator's voice. I allway prefer long books, 15+ hours. But this book could really benefit from a re-editing and shortening. It's more of a check-list of epidemic rather then traditional non-fiction literature. But there are stll interesting sections in this book such as epidemics in the ancient world and people's response to the Black-Death etc. But in a world full of Great non-fiction literature, this book doesn't really stand out.

20 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Informative but boring

The topic is interesting and lots of good information. However the reader is very boring. One long monotone voice.

1 person found this helpful

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Eh.

I got 5 chapters in and had to call it quits because I physically want to fight the author of this book. I'm really disappointed too because he seemed as if he had a lot of details and insight onto epidemics though time but rather than telling the documents as they are he wanted to put his own interpretation and 'clever' spin on it. Aka being INSISTANT that there was absolutely NO MORAL discrimination at all in the anicent world surrounding plague, hard times, and etc. I'll believe that when pigs fly, chief. He comes across as hypcritical and trying to push a narrative that ALL of humanity is good and that no one has ever done bad is the vibe I get from this. Not that I want bad things to happen but that simply isn't the human condition and especially surrounding outsiders, religious standings, etc. His leanings towards the 'All humanity is good' is very stilted and biased, I feel, rather than looking on it from a neutral standpoint. He even painted the Romans in a good light and with how rampant slavery, wars, political/religious/foreigner aggressions, and etc were and still are in different ways I just couldn't finish it. I wanted a good reading of the history and not his narrative and viewpoint just to be condencending to people/scholars/researchers/etc who disagreee and think that some persecutions happened. Of course persecuting anyone on yhe basis of religion, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, or etc is stupid and obviously not the cause but that doesn't mean that they absolutely didn't do such awful things.

TLDR; I got really mad at the author's forced narrative that No PeRsEcUtIoN eVeR hApPeNeD eVeR. He is condencending to other scholars/researchers/etc who disagree. The narration is okay enough even if it is boring it is very clear and understood. There is a lot of potential and information here that he buries with his opinion because of documents he has selected and singled out out of the MANY lost documents to history that will never let us know the full story.

Not worth the buy unless you wanna sit there and be lectured about the GOODNESS OF HUMANITY rather than the events and responses.