In England in the 14th century, when the marauding Flagellants came to town, good members of the community found these people amusing and rather ridiculous, and otherwise they went about their lives, having fun and building a better and more prosperous society.
If it is possible to mash together hard science, poetry, epidemiology, and sociology, it is this book. It is not a huge treatise but closer to an extended essay. Every sentence is pregnant with meaning. Reading it not only made my heart race but also caused my imagination to run wild. It’s both bracing and beautiful.