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Publisher's Summary

A vivid, sweeping history of mankind’s battles with infectious disease, for listeners of the number-one New York Times best sellers Yuval Harari’s Sapiens and John Barry’s The Great Influenza.

For 4,000 years, the size and vitality of cities, economies, and empires were heavily determined by infection. Striking humanity in waves, the cycle of plagues set the tempo of civilizational growth and decline, since common response to the threat was exclusion - quarantining the sick or keeping them out. But the unprecedented hygiene and medical revolutions of the past two centuries have allowed humanity to free itself from the hold of epidemic cycles - resulting in an urbanized, globalized, and unimaginably wealthy world. 

However, our development has lately become precarious. Climate and population fluctuations and aspects of our prosperity such as global trade have left us more vulnerable than ever to newly emerging plagues. Greater global cooperation toward sustainable health is urgently required - such as the international efforts to harvest a Covid-19 vaccine - with millions of lives and trillions of dollars at stake. 

A colorful history, The Plague Cycle reveals the relationship between civilization, globalization, prosperity, and infectious disease over the past five millennia. It harnesses history, economics, and public health, and charts humanity’s remarkable progress, providing a fascinating and timely look at the cyclical nature of infectious disease.

©2021 Charles Kenny. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Full of platitudes

No original insight in the book. More global cooperation is the answer for everything. WHO needs more money.

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  • Keith
  • 03-24-21

Comprehensive

An excellent survey of the key aspects of pandemics and plagues, from the principle of Malthusian theory through the causes of pathogen infection to the reality of modern successes against disease. It’s actually quite a positive story and hopefully of where we are going. Layers in COVID-19 lightly throughout but thankfully makes no substantial statements on that most current of issues.

Perfectly and clearly read.

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  • Kevin
  • 01-27-21

Exceptional!!! A book for everyone concerned.

Excellent narration by Jacques Roy. Well researched and very informative, particularly in these Covid times.

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  • Gary Thompson
  • 02-21-21

A good read to understand the current Covid issue

As we know, all things old are new again and this book places the current COVID-19 pandemic in the context of all other pandemics and why this situation in neither new nor a once off in either our lifetime or that of our ancestors or descendants.
Not that that should be fearful in itself, but having knowledge is better than not.
Well structured and presented for any audience.
Recommend.