Synopses & Reviews
The Emperor Justinian reunified Rome's fractured empire by defeating the Goths and Vandals who had separated Italy, Spain, and North Africa from imperial rule. At his capital in Constantinople, he built the world's most beautiful building, married its most powerful empress, and wrote its most enduring legal code, seemingly restoring Rome's fortunes for the next 500 years. Then, in the summer of 542, he encountered a flea. The ensuing outbreak of bubonic plague killed 5,000 people a day in Constantinople and nearly killed Justinian himself.
Weaving together evolutionary microbiology, economics, military strategy, ecology, and ancient and modern medicine, William Rosen offers a sweeping narrative of one of the great hinge moments in history, one that will appeal to readers of John Kelly's The Great Mortality, John Barry's The Great Influenza, and Jared Diamond's Collapse.
In Justinian's Flea, William Rosen tells the story of history's first pandemic—a plague seven centuries before the Black Death that killed tens of millions, devastated the empires of Persia and Rome, left a path of victims from Ireland to Iraq, and opened the way for the armies of Islam.
About the Author
William Rosen was an editor and publisher at Macmillan, Simon and Schuster, and the Free Press for more than twenty-five years. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey. Barrett Whitener has won half a dozen coveted AudioFile Earphones Awards for his audiobook narration. His audiography includes A Reporter's Life by Walter Cronkite, Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose, and Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman.