Book Review: A Journal of the Plague Years by Daniel Defoe

October 22, 2013

About:
A Journal of the Plague Years by Daniel Defoe is a fictional book about the Great Plague of London in 1665. The book was published in 1722 (57 years after the event) and was meant as a warning because they thought that plague in Marseilles would cross the channel into England.

  • 192 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 048641919

Book Review A Journal of the Plague Years by Daniel Defoe

My rat­ing for A Journal of the Plague Years4

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More Books by Daniel Defoe

Synopsis:
A Journal of the Plague Years by Daniel Defoe is a novelization of a first hand experience during the Black Death plague in London.  This book is very difficult to categorize because the reader doesn’t really know if it is a memoir or not.

Is it fiction?
Doesn’t read like it, from what I read it seems that Defoe fictionalized his uncle’s memoirs.

Is it non-fiction?
It might be, after all it seems that… Defoe fictionalized his uncle’s memoirs.

Whatever it is, the book gives the reader an eerie, haunting, dark sense of London in 1665 when the plague ran amok bringing a disaster upon the capital. One can get a very good feeling of what it was at the time, the people, and the landscapes and how people spoke.

Much of the book is statistics and there is not really a coherent storyline, it is more of a novelization of a diary and a handbook of what do and what to avoid during the deadly outbreak. It is simple to read and has an air of underlying authority, especially given the weekly death statistics. Defoe issues a stern warning with those death statistics, upon close examination one could tell how fast the virus is spreading.

This book is best read as historical fiction novel that mixes fact and fiction. Defoe was a very young boy (5) at the time of the plague and used mortality bills and contemporary accounts for the book.

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More Books by Daniel Defoe

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free.
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One Comment

  • Sharon Henning October 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for letting us know about this book. I downloaded it onto my kindle.

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