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The Great Mortality by John Kelly

Author: John Kelly

Pages: 364

Price: $13.95 in US Dollars + tax

Non-Fiction


Analysis:

The description on the front cover reads "An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time." This is about as misleading as anything can get. I found the book difficult to read, and often times off topic.

After chapter 2, the plague was being used as a back drop instead of the major topic of the book. Several paragraphs are devoted to character development, interaction between characters, and the plague is just there. The plague is here, there and everywhere - but the course of the book gets off tracks with these other characters. At the end of each chapter I was left wondering "what just happened?" How did these characters interact with the plague? Am I missing something or what??

Lets take chapter 5 - Villani's Last Sentence, which starts on page 101. Inside chapter 5 is a sub-chapter - Rome, Summer 1348. The start of Rome, Summer 1348 reads more like a gangster movie. The first 5 paragraphs are devoted to character development of people who had nothing to do with the plague.

During the following 7 pages, the Plague is mentioned just a few times. After all, this book is "supposed" to be about the great plague. During those 7 pages a drama unfolds between the characters that were introduced. There was no relation or interaction between the characters and the plague. It was if the author was trying to tell the story of gangsters, with the plague as a back drop.

Just about the whole book is laid out in this fashion. The plague is used more of a back drop, or a reason to tell the story of someone that had nothing to do with the plague.

While 30 - 60% of Europe was dying, the book focuses instead on the Templar Knights, or some other life story that is very, very loosely related to the plague.

The author skips around and mentions a second and third great plague. Okkkk,,,,,,????? Just what exactly is this second and third great plague? What years did they happen, just WTF was the author talking about?


Conclusion:
The author tried to write a history book, or something along the lines of a gangster novel on mediaeval Europe and tried to use the plague of the 1340s as a back drop. John Kelly failed to relay the fine details of how the Plague affected the average person in mediaeval Europe during the times of the plague. Instead of discussing the real affects of the plague, John Kelly got side tracked, time and time again. The book gets side tracked over and over again with too much time spent on character development. These characters failed to relay what the plague was and how it affected Europe.


Is the book recommenced?

No but HELL NO.


On a person note:

I was expecting this book to be much better then what it was. The author must have attention defect disorder or something. Instead of staying focused on the plague, and the details about it, he gets way off in left field somewhere - then starts walking around in circles.

I feel that I have wasted my money and my time on this book.
 

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i have no idea how to post a new thread. I have 2 books to recommend. One is Testament by David Morrel. This is his second book published right after his first book known as "First Blood" (you all remember Rambo) It's shear survival by a pencil pusher, suburbanite who has never experienced anything worse than a traffic jam, but is an avid reader and has read a lot of survival fiction. I give it a 9 and can't put it down status. Secondly "Down to a Sunless Sea" 1979 by David Graham. A man traveling from NYC to Hethro air port in London, has the misfortune to be on a plane when the world decides to go into Global Nuclear War without notice. Rings very true today, world economic crisis going on such as we have now. You may have all your preparations at home here, but if you are on a plane just traveling, you have nothing...what do you do? Hair raising because its highly probable. Where do you land when the jet has limited fuel and your destination just disappeared off the map? Will leave you thinking for years to come and hopeful that somebody just might live thru it all no matter how bad it gets.
 

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i have no idea how to post a new thread. I have 2 books to recommend. One is Testament by David Morrel. This is his second book published right after his first book known as "First Blood" (you all remember Rambo) It's shear survival by a pencil pusher, suburbanite who has never experienced anything worse than a traffic jam, but is an avid reader and has read a lot of survival fiction. I give it a 9 and can't put it down status. Secondly "Down to a Sunless Sea" 1979 by David Graham. A man traveling from NYC to Hethro air port in London, has the misfortune to be on a plane when the world decides to go into Global Nuclear War without notice. Rings very true today, world economic crisis going on such as we have now. You may have all your preparations at home here, but if you are on a plane just traveling, you have nothing...what do you do? Hair raising because its highly probable. Where do you land when the jet has limited fuel and your destination just disappeared off the map? Will leave you thinking for years to come and hopeful that somebody just might live thru it all no matter how bad it gets.
Gravity and stored JP4 will solve the problem of where you land. ;)

On a transcontinental flight, options would probably be pretty limited, come to think of it, domestic air wouldnt be much better because they'd rather refuel in Dallas than carry an extra 10k pounds of fuel for the 2nd leg of the trip to LA regardless of where they took off from knowing it's a multi hop flight.
 
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