Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe

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9780670038558: Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe
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The Emperor Justinian reunified Romes fractured empire by defeating the Goths and Vandals who had separated Italy, Spain, and North Africa from imperial rule. In his capital at Constantinople he built the world's most beautiful building, married its most powerful empress, and wrote its most enduring legal code, seemingly restoring Rome's fortunes for the next five hundred years. Then, in the summer of 542, he encountered a flea. The ensuing outbreak of bubonic plague killed five thousand people a day in Constantinople and nearly killed Justinian himself.


In Justinian's Flea , William Rosen tells the story of history's first pandemic plague seven centuries before the Black Death that killed tens of millions, devastated the empires of Persia and Rome, left a path of victims from Ireland to Iraq, and opened the way for the armies of Islam. Weaving together evolutionary microbiology, economics, military strategy, ecology, and ancient and modern medicine, Rosen offers a sweeping narrative of one of the great hinge moments in history, one that will appeal to readers of John Kelly's The Great Mortality , John Barry's The Great Influenza , and Jared Diamond's Collapse .

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About the Author:

William Rosen was an editor and publisher for more than twenty-five years.

From AudioFile:

Described as a chronicle of the collision of the worlds smallest organism with the worlds mightiest power, Rosens work promises a sweeping examination of the Golden Age of Constantinople. Rich in the detail so beloved by fans of historical narrative, the story is as compelling and dramatic as a novel. All of this makes Barrett Whiteners atonal narration that much more disappointing. Whitener has previously won Earphone Awards, leading one to anticipate a performance reflecting the passion, panache, and attitude heralded in the books reviews. But, although his voice is clear, his tone and performance are flat. Whiteners narration does not enhance the experience of listening to this unique historical work. M.O.B. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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