Response Paper to John Kelly’s The Great Mortality


The Great Mortality is a book by John Kelly that talks about a disaster that befell Europe and Asia and this disaster happens to be the worst natural disaster that has ever occurred in the European history. The disaster goes by the name The Black Death and took place in the 1340s and killed about a third of the entire population. The disaster was given the name because those who suffered from it turned black. Those who were mostly affected were those who lied between china and Europe across china and the Middle East. The disaster came at a time when there was great competition between the individuals who were living and the resources that were available. This was due to the demographic growth that had taken place in Europe.

Causes and Consequences of the Black Death

The major cause of the Black Death was then Bubonic plague but traces of the pneumonic plague and septicemic plague were also identified. Bubonic plague killed between thirty and seventy five percent of the entire population and the third is estimated to be between 75-200 million people in the in the fourteenth century. The bubonic plague was transmitted though contact with fleas. Some factors that contributed to the severity of the Black Death are famine, weather, and poverty.

Effects to the Society

Other than killing the one-third of the entire population, the Black Death left many without relatives and made people to fear it a lot. However, the economy reached a place where competition for jobs was not stiff and those who were spared by the plague could secure good places to do some work.

Response Paper to John Kelly’s The Great Mortality


The Black Death happens to be the greatest disaster that has ever occurred in Europe. It killed over a third of the entire population and left many terrified. The Black Death is believed to have been caused by the bubonic plague which was found in fleas.


John, K. (2005). The Great Mortality. HarperCollins, 1-364.