Introduced by Belinda Hollyer
Bell’s vivid and gripping account has never been bettered. This re-edited edition brings his erudite and sensitive approach to a new generation of readers.
The great Plague of 1665 was a last and terrible visitation before bubonic plague finally burned itself out. A direct descendant of the Black Death, it killed more than 100,000 people in London alone. Its horrors have been etched on our minds by the writings of Daniel Defoe and Samuel Pepys, yet many citizens displayed great courage and compassion. London’s Lord Mayor, Sir John Lawrence, remained at his post when almost all who could afford to had fled the city; Dr Nathaniel Hodges tended patients throughout the epidemic – never himself catching the plague. Walter Bell’s astonishingly detailed account has never been equalled. This re-edited edition of his book allows his scholarship and imaginative sympathy to shine through for a new generation of readers. Edited and introduced by Belinda Hollyer.
‘An astonishing achievement of both scale and judgement’
Walter Bell’s book was the first to attempt a full history of the Great Plague in London, and no subsequent work has matched the precision of his research. His skill in collating and interpreting contemporary records is rigorously applied, and yet time and again he illuminates the human side of statistics and documents. The erudition of his work has ensured that his book is still cited today as the definitive work on the Great Plague, almost eighty years after it was first published.
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