Spartacus Review

Volume 20: 12th June, 2008

Medieval History

Title: The Black Death

Author: John Hatcher


Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Price: £20.00

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Disease in the 14th Century


The Black Death remains the greatest disaster to befall humanity, killing about half the population of the planet in the 14th century. John Hatcher recreates everyday medieval life in a parish in Suffolk, from which an exceptional number of documents survive. This enables us to view events through the eyes of its residents, revealing in unique detail what it was like to live and die in these terrifying times. With scrupulous attention to historical accuracy, John Hatcher describes what the parishioners experienced, what they knew and what they believed. His narrative is peopled with characters developed from the villagers named in the actual towns records and a series of dramatic scenes portray how contemporaries must have experienced the momentous events.