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The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plague

Narrated by: Dorsey Armstrong
Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Many of us know the Black Death as a catastrophic event of the medieval world. But the Black Death was arguably the most significant event in Western history, profoundly affecting every aspect of human life, from the economic and social to the political, religious, and cultural. In its wake the plague left a world that was utterly changed, forever altering the traditional structure of European societies and forcing a rethinking of every single system of Western civilization: food production and trade, the church, political institutions, law, art, and more. In large measure, by the profundity of the changes it brought, the Black Death produced the modern world we live in today.

While the story of the Black Death is one of destruction and loss, its breathtaking scope and effects make it one of the most compelling and deeply intriguing episodes in human history. Understanding the remarkable unfolding of the plague and its aftermath provides a highly revealing window not only on the medieval world but also on the forces that brought about the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, and modernity itself.

Speaking to the full magnitude of this world-changing historical moment, The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plague, taught by celebrated medievalist Dorsey Armstrong of Purdue University, takes you on an unforgettable excursion into the time period of the plague, its full human repercussions, and its transformative effects on European civilization. In 24 richly absorbing lectures, you'll follow the path of the epidemic in its complete trajectory across medieval Europe. Majestic in scope and remarkable in detail, this course goes to the heart of one of Western history's most catalytic and galvanizing moments, the effects of which gave us the modern world.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2016 The Great Courses

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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wonderful knowledge

Prefect lecture on the black death, made me scared around rodents and i have been washing my hands lots #Audible1

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Informative and Fascinating

This is one of the best courses I've listened to yet! Prof. Armstrong is an engaging and passionate teacher. Her delivery and thorough understanding of this material is easy to absorb. I really enjoyed this course

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entertaining!

excellent listen. only minor complaint is that there is a lot of repeated information in the different lectures. great Prof though, I learned a ton. well worth a listen.

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A Great Educational Listen

Macabre but interesting lectures. They're well put together and later lectures reference back to what you've already learned so everything connects together nicely. I found myself going "Oh really!?" a lot while listening. Definitely worth it if you're into history or the Plague. #Audible1

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  • Tricia Munter
  • 2016-06-12

informative, interesting, well organized

I really enjoyed the lecturer, Dr Armstrong has an enthusiasm that is infectious. her interest is supported by and informed with research.
Although I typically don't enjoy listening to the insertion of quotations and source citations she does this in an non-obstructive way.
I will definitely search for other lectures by Dr Armstrong.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Jessamine
  • Tracy, CA
  • 2016-06-27

Tragic & fascinating

Absolutely loved this lecture series. I can't stop recommending it to friends.
We learn so little in school about plagues - and certainly not enough about the social effects. I had no idea how much the Black Death shaped the world - not just the millions dead, but the arts, religion, social norms.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • NLSharp1943
  • 2016-07-15

Liked Prof's presentation

Dorsey Armstrong's presentation was great. I have studied history for years years on an amateur basis and found many of my knowledge gaps filled. Now I actually know what a market town is.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mike McGuire
  • 2016-06-16

Enthralling story.

By the end of the book one really does have tbe sense that we really are children of the middle ages and how important are our modern public health systems.

My next stlep will be to find what other courses TGC and Dr. Armstrong have produced.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Maneki Neko
  • 2016-06-16

Indeed I shall renounce the superfluous use of the word "indeed"

That is actually my only criticism of this course, and even then it's only mildly annoying and affects only portions of the story. Professor Armstrong has a great delivery. She enunciates clearly, has a good cadence, and weaves a masterful tale of intrigue, history, and science. She skillfully draws connections between events in the 14th century and traces their evolution up to modern times. She makes compelling arguments to support her connections, and she does so in a manner that is both scholarly and entertaining. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in science, sociology, religion, economics, or, of course, history.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Dillion
  • 2018-08-06

Great “great course”

I’m a mailman for the USPS and honestly listening to music gets old real fast. I’ve listened to over 70 audiobook over the last year many of them being Great Courses. This particular Great Course has me hooked from the beginning. The professor is very knowledgeable and you really get the sense she loves what she is lecturing about. I learned a lot and i hope other people who like to learn new things choose this one.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Nelson
  • 2016-07-19

Outstanding recount

Loved it, congratulations on excellent content, speech, structure and form.
Definitely stands out as a reference for plague history.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Carrie
  • 2016-07-25

Great lectures - Need lecture names on track title

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, engaging and informative

What other book might you compare The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plague to and why?

any of Philip Daileaders lectures on the middle ages.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Not really movie material

Any additional comments?

I love the great courses - BUT PLEASE PUT CHAPTER NAMES IN THE TRACK TITLE. I enjoy going back to specific chapters and re-listening, and not having titles, just 'Chapter 1' makes this more difficult.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Henry
  • 2016-07-25

Extremely Interesting

I liked how the spread of the plague and its social, economic and political effects were described. Worth the listen in every way.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Calliope
  • 2018-10-21

Very Interesting without being superficial

This was my first Great Course, and I loved it! I found I wanted to listen to the next chapter, and the next, and the next......Interesting and detailed without being esoteric and dogmatic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful