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The Black Death, the Great Plague, leprosy, smallpox: the very names now have a historical—almost a mythological—ring. With our space-age hospitals and wonder drugs, surely we’ve consigned pestilence to the past! Even AIDS hasn’t succeeded in persuading us otherwise…In this shocking, scintillating book, biohistorian Arno Karlen questions this complacent conspiracy, tracing the continuities of contagion from ancient times to the present day. An epic of epidemic, the story is, he says, anything but over: indeed we may well be standing on the brink of disaster.