The Black Death is considered by many to be the great watershed in medieval history, as it ravaged a continent, killed millions and decimated economies. The author sees in this catastrophe the birth of technologically advanced societies, struggling to create labour-saving devices.
David Herlihy (d. 1991) was Barnaby Conrad and Mary Critchfield Keeney Professor and Professor of History at Brown University. Samuel K. Cohn, Jr., is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Glasgow. Among his books are The Cult of Remembrance and the Black Death and Women in the Streets: Essays on Sex and Power in the Italian Renaissance.