The Wake of the Plague by Norman F. Cantor Essay

Paper Type:  Book review
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1155 Words
Date:  2022-08-04

Introduction of the Review

In the Wake of the Plague is a book written by Norman F. Cantor in which the author presents a view of the Plague which occurred in England and its effect in the whole world. Cantor focused on telling stories of the life of men and women who lived during the fourteenth century, covering various aspects across peasants to priests, and merchant to the king. Cantor accomplishes this by introducing number characters with specific roles for the continuity of the story. The occurrence of the plague was so significant in the region and led to many problems including many deaths. The author, however, views the phenomenon as an important occurrence which brought about a significant change. On this note, the purpose of his work is, therefore, to convince the readers that the plague had beneficial results (Cantor, 2001). . Although Cantor recognizes that the plague was associated with devastation hence so terrifying, he believes that the disease the diseases and the subsequent deaths impacted positively on the European economy. He tries to support his perspectives by providing some instances of the improvements that Europe recorded as a result. He argues that the peasant who survived were able to play a significant role in ensuring revolution in terms of artistic works and farming in Europe. Cantor targets the general public as the audience for his work, who he is striving to convince that however much the occurrence can be related to the negative effects of nuclear energy, it had great changes to the world.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The Author's Qualifications Concerning the Subject

The author Norman F. Cantor is a professor of Sociology, History, and Comparative Literature at the New York University. He has many academic honors in his fields of specializations including appointments as a Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellow at the Princeton University. He, therefore, has adequate qualifications in the area of the subject in which he came up with the idea and wrote on. The author appears to have sufficient knowledge regarding what he is trying to communicate having written many books about historical perspectives like the one in question. The author also refers to a number of previously published works which are related to his idea in a way. This makes the book be associated with a significant level of reliability and credibility. The author tries to avoid biases in his work by recognizing that the plague was a problem, and then convinces the public that the long-term effect was desirable to the various parts of the world which were associated with it. The sources to which he refers to make the basis of the pieces of information he uses to provide the narration.

The Scope of the Book

The book is focused on the time span within the fourteenth century in which a significant mystery of a plague occurred. The plague and its subsequent effects were so serious that the author referred to it as the Black Death (Cantor, 2001). The geographical location of the focus of the book is England and many other parts of Europe which felt the effects of the given plague. The audience can easily learn about the plague which occurred and how it claimed many lives as a result. However, the readers can also learn that the objective of the author is to convince the society that the issue should be taken positively. The author tries to achieve this by arguing that the plague leads to the demise of the old order which allowed thinking in a more scientific and modern way.

Thematic Concerns

The main theme in Cantor's work is the revolution that was influenced by the occurrence of the plague. The occurrence has remained one of the historical problematic events even though the author tries to view it as a way through which Europe was able to make significant steps based on both social and economic grounds. Many considered evaluated the plague to be associated with negativities based the considerable section of the European population that it wiped. However, according to the author, it paved way for way for the affected region to realize more desirable aspects of life in the society. According to Cantor (2001), the society in which its effects were felt was able to record a significant aspect of the intellectual revolution. The author's idea is also shown when the author indicates that artistic explosion occurred in which people were responding to the occurrence of such plagues, and prevent them in the near future. Besides, the few intellects who survived were able to bring a great economic change in terms of capitalism and independence in Europe.

New Insights Learned

It is easy to learn a lot from the ideas and pieces of information used by the author in the book. For instance, as much as events are disadvantageous to the society, the view of the individual people may not be the same as the general perception of the issue in question. This is evident from the author's belief that the occurrence of the plague has more importance which outweighs the manner in which it impacted negatively on the society. The different viewpoint of the author makes it easier to understand the specific events and the roles of the characters in which the writer builds his idea. Reading Cantor's work in the future can assist in developing a more objective approach to understanding an idea in a different way from the society's belief.

Strengths and Weakness of the Book

The book demonstrated significant strengths as the writer used an important approach to build his idea. The writer is emerging to be unique and creative and tries to implement a different aspect of thinking. The author is slightly different from the societal analysis by emphasizing that the plague was important. The mode of connection made the basis of the strength of the given artistic work hence making it interesting.

The book is also associated with many weaknesses, which makes it less effective in helping the author meet his purpose. For instance, the book is built on the general idea that the plague is the good occurrence which should be accepted in the society. This is however opposed by many who based their reasoning on the negative effects. Moreover, the author has misinterpreted the occurrence by drawing a baseless connection with changes which occurred later; this can be seen as a faulty reasoning.


The author did not succeed in achieving his goal since the idea presented cannot be easily understood by the general public to which it was meant. This implies that the weaknesses outweigh the strengths. Consequently, the book should not be recommended to the general public because it can be misleading to some extent. The book has a great impact on me in that I am able to learn that interpretation of events in the significantly varies among different people.


Cantor, N. (2001). In the wake of the plague. New York: Simon & Schuster Trade.

Cite this page

The Wake of the Plague by Norman F. Cantor Essay. (2022, Aug 04). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism