Non-Book Review: Environment, Society And The Black Death

Environment, Society And The Black Death:  An Interdisciplinary Approach To The Late-Medieval Crisis In Sweden, edited by Per Lagerås

As someone who reviews fairly prolifically for De Re Militari, to the point where sometimes I have two or three reviews in a row on their website, it can probably be guessed that I have fairly broad tastes in the sorts of historical books I like to review, even within the general confines of the Middle Ages that the medeival military historical society represents.  To give some example of this broad scope of material, I have read a history of the Crusades from the Muslim perspective, studies of the cinematic interpretation of the Arthurian legends as well as the Tudor dynasty, an impressive book on the history of the British navy in the Baltic Sea, and a variety of other books, including a great many about the Wars of the Roses as well as the Hundred Years’ War [1].  I say this as a context because while I expected to get a book that dealt with serious subjects–there not being a lot of lighthearted books about the Black Death–I did not expect to get a book that was narrowly focused on Sweden, since I only saw the title and not the subtitle of the book when requesting it.  I have noticed a lot recently that many authors have very vague and misleading titles that are explained by subtitles that I don’t see until I actually receive the book somewhat surprised at the contents.

That said, I think this book will be a worthwhile one and I look forward to reading it.  The book is clearly not aimed at a mass audience, since there are few scholars with an abiding professional interest in the late medieval period of Sweden in the Anglophone world.  I may be more interested in Scandinavia, in fact, than most American readers of history.  I think that’s safe to say.  And, from what I can tell, the book lives up to its aims of being interdisciplinary.  The book combines an interest in exploring the regional distribution of villages abandoned during and after the Black Death with historical accounts and also, from what I could tell, with an analysis of dead bodies.  Suffice it to say that the book looks suitably promising as an exploration into the social repercussions of massive disease.  I am not sure what contemporary relevance I will draw from the book, but it promises to be a read a bit out of the usual for me, at any rate, and that is worth something.

[1] See, for example:


About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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5 Responses to Non-Book Review: Environment, Society And The Black Death

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