A Time to Dance, a Time to Die : The extraordinary story of the Dancing Plague of 1518
In July 1518 a terrifying and mysterious plague struck the medieval city of Strasbourg. Hundreds of men and women danced wildly, day after day, in the punishing summer heat. Their feet blistered and bled, and their limbs ached with fatigue, but they simply could not stop. By the time the epidemic subsided, heat and exhaustion had claimed an untold number of lives, leaving thousands bewildered and bereaved, and an enduring enigma for future generations. This book explains why Strasbourg's dancing plague took place. In doing so it leads us into a largely vanished world, evoking the sights, sounds, aromas, diseases and hardships, the fervent super naturalism and the desperate hedonism of the late medieval world. Not only a fascinating historical detective story, "A Time to Dance, A Time to Die" is also an exploration into the strangest capabilities of the human mind and the extremes to which fear and irrationality can lead us.