Book cover of The World the Plague Made: The Black Death and the Rise of Europe by James Belichby James Belich

A groundbreaking history of how the Black Death unleashed revolutionary change across the medieval world and ushered in the modern age

In 1346, a catastrophic plague beset Europe and its neighbours. The Black Death was a human tragedy that abruptly halved entire populations and caused untold suffering, but it also brought about a cultural and economic renewal on a scale never before witnessed. The World the Plague Made is a panoramic history of how the bubonic plague revolutionized labour, trade, and technology and set the stage for Europe’s global expansion.

James Belich takes readers across centuries and continents to shed new light on one of history’s greatest paradoxes. Why did Europe’s dramatic rise begin in the wake of the Black Death? Belich shows how plague doubled the per capita endowment of everything even as it decimated the population. Many more people had disposable incomes.

Interview with the Author

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Did Black Death trigger the rise of Europe?
5/21/23          37 min

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Episode 275: The World the Plague Made
8/8/22             65 min

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AskHistorians Podcast Episode 213 – The World The Plague Made with James Belich
1/20/23          65 min

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James Belich, “The World the Plague Made: The Black Death and the Rise of Europe” (Princeton UP, 2022)
9/23/22            71 min

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