From Publishers Weekly
The Mootes have written an extraordinary and insightful account of life in London during 1665, when nearly 100,000 people died of the plague. They detail the havoc unleashed upon the city and the efforts of the large number of people who stayed behind rather than fleeing. The Mootes apply their knowledge of history (Lloyd Moote) and microbiology (Dorothy Moote) to analyze the results of their original archival research, most notably the city's weekly "Bills of Mortality" and unpublished documents including publicly distributed pamphlets, personal correspondences, business ledgers and medical records. The story they tell is of two Londons, the working poor of the "alleys and cellars and tenements," and the rich, titled and merchant classes, and how they become "interdependent" during 1665. In a powerful narrative device, the authors often incorporate the words of real people, including Samuel Pepys, who continued risky business arrangements and a "wide range of exotic adventures"; Symon Patrick, the rector of metropolitan London's wealthiest congregation; and Nathaniel Hodges, a doctor who valiantly sought to find a cure for the disease in the face of popular healers selling self-proclaimed "wonder drugs," as well as outdated medical practices. The book also details how the Restoration government was woefully unprepared for dealing with the plague; an epilogue on the development of microbiology and antibiotic cures forcefully argues that modern society still needs to be better prepared for future infectious diseases.
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The Mootes write with an impressive combination of storytelling and scholarship... Their work provides an example that local historians might consider copying for other locations in Britain. Ancestors Magazine The Mootes' enthusiasm at their archival discoveries flavours their lively account of the Plague Year. London Review of Books 2005 This is now the best book available on London's 1665 plague epidemic. Sixteenth Century Journal An extraordinary and insightful account of life in London during 1665, when nearly 100,000 people died of the plague... The story they tell is of two Londons, the working poor of the 'alleys and cellars and tenements,' and the rich, titled, and merchant classes, and how they became 'interdependent' during 1665... An epilogue on the development of microbiology and antibiotic cures forcefully argues that modern society still needs to be better prepared for future infectious diseases. Publishers Weekly Extraordinarily accomplished... A book of rare distinction, one that is able to analyze a city in crisis while never losing sight of the individual lives contained within it. From the tiniest microbe to the most blustery regal proclamation, there seem to be no aspect of Pestered London to which the Mootes did not have access. Guardian 2004 In this excellent book, husband and wife Lloyd and Dorothy Moote, a historian and biologist, respectively, have brilliantly captured the human, medical, and political dimensions of the Great Plague in London and the surrounding areas. New England Journal of Medicine 2004 The Great Plague is a great read. The authors skillfully integrate evidence from a number of sources, and their enthusiasm for their subject is infectious. -- Tom Beaumont James, PhD, FSA JAMA In this crowded field, this jewel of a book brings a new dimension by telling the story of how the rich and the poor who stayed rather than escaped survived rather than died, maintained order rather than succumbed to chaos, and provided support and sustenance rather than betrayal and impedance. Choice 2004 This is a great story of the great plague of London in the 1660s... Fascinating. Journal of the American Association of Forensic Dentists 2007 The authors... have produced a readable and reasonable account that should now be the first choice of readers who want to know the story. -- J.N. Hays Medical History 2008