The Black Death is the name most commonly given to the pandemic of bubonic plague that ravaged the medieval world in the late 1340s. From Central Asia the plague swept through Europe, leaving millions of dead in its wake. Between a quarter and a third of Europe's population died. In England the population fell from nearly six million to just over three million. The Black Death was the greatest demographic disaster in European history. Sean Martin looks at the origins of the disease and traces its terrible march through Europe from the Italian cities to the far-flung corners of Scandinavia.
On both personal and public levels the past century has brought Western Europeans some of the most devastating episodes of human history. Paul Monaco identifies the major modes of consciousness that Europeans have developed as ways of interpreting their experiences. Europe appears to many Americans as an aging dowager with a grand past but little future. Yet, beyond the stereotype lies the complex reality.
As Timothy W. Ryback demonstrates in this lively and revealing book, Western music, particularly rock and roll, is not new to the Soviet bloc. Indeed, as Mr. Ryback shows, rock music has effected one of the most significant transformations ever in Soviet bloc society. He traces the emergence of rock culture in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union from 1954 to the present day, where it has become unquestionably the most pervasive form of mass cultural activity in Communist society.