Could someone recommend some good books on the plague epidemics during the middle ages?

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    We don't normally permit open ended requests for references because it is difficult to identify an authoritative answer. What is a "good" book depends on the bias of the reviewer. Are there specific questions about plagues that you'd like answered?
    – MCW
    Apr 15, 2020 at 11:10
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    @MarkC.Wallace I am ok with a biased recommendation
    – veronika
    Apr 15, 2020 at 11:43
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    But the site is not; the site is designed as a Q&A site where questions generate authoritative answers. Biased answers generate discussion and argument and hostility, which damage the site. We also discourage list questions ,"What are some ..." for the same reason - they don't generate authoritative answers. I'm sorry - it sounds like I'm being unwelcoming, but every site has their peculiar culture, and I hate it when a sincere question founders on unspoken culture.
    – MCW
    Apr 15, 2020 at 11:57
  • One way you can find further sources on plague in the middle ages is to search our site using the disease and middle ages tags. When you find any good, authoritative answers they should include sources you can pursue.
    – justCal
    Apr 15, 2020 at 14:48
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    If you have one specific question that you would like an answer researched to, answers will undoubtedly couch up good references to that question, and possibly tangential ones. it may sound like a semantic game, but it is how the site prevents a flood of discussion posts that as @MarkC.Wallace has pointed out would damage the site's intent and comaraderie. Apr 15, 2020 at 15:44

1 Answer 1


"A" book I could suggest is "The Black Death" by Philip Ziegler ISBN 0 86299 838 7. It is "Good" in the sense that it appears to be well researched and has a comprehensive biography including non-English language source material. He also discusses the historical evolution of some of the controversial issues about the social and economic impact of the plague.

Another book you might find interesting is "Plagues and Peoples" (Sorry, don't have it with me not sure of author or ISBN). This one is not about the plague(s) of the mid 1300's specifically, but rather considers the co-evolution of humankind and microbes.

Both of these were published several decades ago, there are undoubtedly more recent treatments.

  • I have a copy of Plagues and Peoples. Haven't read it in decades, but I remember it being a really good book about the effects disease has had on human development, somewhat in the mold of Jared Diamond (I think he even credits it in GG&S).
    – T.E.D.
    Apr 16, 2020 at 10:13

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