Discussion of The Plague Cycle: The Unending War Between Humanity and Infectious Disease by Charles Kenny

October 14th, 2021 - 5:00 pm

The World’s Unending War Against Disease is the Subject of October 14 History Book Festival Event

Smallpox. Malaria. Bubonic plague. Polio. Measles. And, now, COVID-19.

The rounds of devastating diseases that have taken their toll over the millennia – and the medical advances that ultimately helped to contain them – are the focus of a History Book Festival virtual program on October 14.

Writer and researcher Charles Kenny will discuss his new book, The Plague Cycle: The Unending War Between Humanity and Infectious Disease (Simon & Schuster, 2021), during the Zoom-based program, beginning at 5 PM EDT. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

The program is free, but pre-registration is required; to reserve a spot, visit www.historybookfestival.org.

Hailed by Publishers Weekly as “a worthy primer on a subject of pressing importance,” The Plague Cycle recounts how, for four thousand years, the size and vitality of cities, economies, and empires were heavily determined by infection.

The cycle of plagues set the tempo of civilizational growth and decline, since the common response to the threat was exclusion – quarantining the sick or keeping them out. But advances in hygiene and medicine over the past two centuries have allowed humanity to largely free itself from the hold of epidemic cycles, resulting in an urbanized, globalized, and unimaginably wealthy world.

Despite such progress, Kenny cautions that global trade, population fluctuations and climate change leave us more vulnerable than ever to newly emerging plagues. He argues for greater global cooperation toward sustainable health, as well as collaborative efforts such as those to develop and deploy a COVID-19 vaccine.

Harnessing history, economics, and public health, Kenney charts humanity’s remarkable progress and provides a fascinating and timely look at the cyclical nature of infectious disease.

Charles Kenny is a writer-researcher at the Center for Global Development, where he has worked on policy reforms in global health, and on peacekeeping and anti-corruption campaigns led by the United Nations. Previously, he spent 15 years as an economist at the World Bank, traveling the planet from Baghdad and Kabul to Brasilia and Beijing.

Kenny earned a history degree at Cambridge and has graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins, the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and Cambridge.

His other books include Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding and How We Can Improve the World Even More, and The Upside of Down: Why the Rise of the Rest Is Great for the West.

Copies of The Plague Cycle are available at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, the official bookseller of the History Book Festival. The book also may be purchased at biblion in Lewes. Books purchased at either shop come with a signed archival bookplate.

The October 14 program is part of the 2021 History Book Festival, which features noted authors of newly published historical fiction and nonfiction works. The virtual events will occur into November.

For a complete list of the upcoming presentations and detailed information on each program, visit www.historybookfestival.org.

Presenting sponsors of the 2021 History Book Festival are Delaware Humanities and The Lee Ann Wilkinson Group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Gallo Realty.

In addition to the Lewes Public Library, the Festival’s online programs are supported by the Delaware Division of Libraries and Sussex County Libraries.

The History Book Festival, now in its fifth year, is the first and only book festival in the United States devoted exclusively to history.

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