PLAGUE AND FIRE: The Story of London 1665-1666 by Peter Gray

PLAGUE AND FIRE: The Story of London 1665-1666

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A microscopic view, part London history and part authorial guesswork, of two major incidents; the Great Plague of 1665, the Great Fire of 1666. The text refers to contemporary medical practices and why they failed, the prevalence of superstitions, poor sanitation and hygiene in general, the staggering extent of the epidemic; numerous quotations from Pepys and DeFoe provide seventeenth century perspectives. The spread of the Fire is also developed at length, including first impulses to grab valuables, the crisis of St. Paul's, the remarkably low number of deaths. Seriously detracting from the detail-studded text are the gruesome illustrations, with full color pictorializations of suffering and mass burials and the more acceptable but minute (1"" x 2"") photographs; also some of the captions are printed in the smallest type size we have ever seen and in one place the description runs off the page. A consistently ugly-looking book with a text for monocled devotees.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1968
Publisher: McGraw-Hill