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Late June 2020 was an extraordinary time to be reading Animal City. COVID-19, a zoonotic disease, had already killed around 130,000 people in the United States, with urban areas suffering the highest death rates. In New York City alone, 30,000 people had died.
In the 200 years before the invention of steam power and the advent of the Industrial Revolution, early modern London was a coal-fired metropolis. The dirty fuel was burnt in both the hearths of individual households and in the furnaces of breweries, bakers, and glassmakers.
Death and Survival is a collection of eight previously published articles and chapters with a new preface, introduction and conclusion. Luckin is without a doubt one of the most important urban environmental historians of London.
Visitors to a new city, faced with a host of new sensations and sights, may find themselves wondering ‘How did this all get here?’ Pondering the origins of an established, yet amorphous entity like a city may overwhelm the average tourist, though it is an exercise familiar to historians.
This book is one of a series entitled The Making of Europe, which aims 'to address crucial aspects of European history in every field - political, economic, social, religious, and cultural' (p. xii).