My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a brilliantly comprehensive take on the impact of plague. I found it useful that Slack often talked about why he used various methods of research and the disadvantages and advantages of each one. There was a heavy use of statistics and demography which could be quite daunting but it was explained well and was fairly easy to understand, this is unlike other academic history books that I’ve read in the past that present you with a graph but leave you without much interpretation of it.
Another way Slack set his work apart in this book is that he used both macro and micro history to come to his conclusions and gave insightful accounts on their usefulness – this was particularly helpful as an approach to learning about different styles of history writing and for that reason, would make this book a great introduction to a student wanting to learn more about the different methods of history research.
I do think the book could have benefitted from a little more context to help the reader place the impact of the plague in the bigger picture of the Tudor and Stuart periods but given the length of the book without this, I can see why it hasn’t been added and is instead left up to the reader.
For anyone studying the history of plague or epidemics, this book is highly recommended as it’s an accessible read, it is thoroughly researched and it is referenced in almost every article from a historian covering this topic in these periods making it a valuable starting point.