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The Black Death, a severe epidemic that ravaged fourteenth

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The Black Death, a severe epidemic that ravaged fourteenth [#permalink] New post 28 May 2013, 10:05
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The Black Death, a severe epidemic that ravaged fourteenth century Europe, has intrigued scholars ever since Francis Gasquet's 1893 study contending that this epidemic greatly intensified the political and religious upheaval that ended the Middle Ages. Thirty-six years later, historian George Coulton agreed but, paradoxically, attributed a silver lining to the Black Death: prosperity engendered by diminished competition for food, shelter, and work led survivors of the epidemic into the Renaissance and subsequent rise of modern Europe.

In the 1930s, however, Evgeny Kosminsky and other Marxist historians claimed the epidemic was merely an ancillary factor contributing to a general agrarian crisis stemming primarily from the inevitable decay of European feudalism. In arguing that this decline of feudalism was economically determined, the Marxist asserted that the Black Death was a relatively insignificant factor. This became the prevailing view until after the Second World War, when studies of specific regions and towns revealed astonishing mortality rates ascribed to the epidemic, thus restoring the central role of the Black Death in history.

This central role of the Black Death (traditionally attributed to bubonic plague brought from Asia) has been recently challenged from another direction. Building on bacteriologist John Shrewsbury's speculations about mislabeled epidemics, zoologist Graham Twigg employs urban case studies suggesting that the rat population in Europe was both too sparse and
insufficiently migratory to have spread plague. Moreover, Twigg disputes the traditional trade-ship explanation for plague transmissions by extrapolating from data on the number of dead rats aboard Nile sailing vessels in 1912. The Black Death, which he conjectures was anthrax instead of bubonic plague, therefore caused far less havoc and fewer deaths than
historians typically claim.

Although correctly citing the exacting conditions needed to start or spread bubonic plague, Twigg ignores virtually a century of scholarship contradictory to his findings and employs faulty logic in his single-minded approach to the Black Death. His speculative generalizations about the numbers of rats in medieval Europe are based on isolated studies unrepresentative of medieval conditions, while his unconvincing trade-ship argument overlooks land-based caravans, the overland migration of infected rodents, and the many other animals that carry plague.
1) The passage is primarily concerned with
(A) demonstrating the relationship between bubonic plague and the Black Death
(B) interpreting historical and scientific works on the origins of the Black Death
(C) employing the Black Death as a case study of disease transmission in medieval Europe
(D) presenting aspects of past and current debate on the historical importance of the Black Death
(E) analyzing the differences between capitalist and Marxist interpretations of the historical significance of the Black Death
[Reveal] Spoiler:
D


2) Which of the following statements is most compatible with Kosminsky's approach to history, as it is presented in the passage?
(A) The Middle Ages were ended primarily by the religious and political upheaval in fourteenth century Europe.
(B) The economic consequences of the Black Death included increased competition for food, shelter, and work.
(C) European history cannot be studied in isolation from that of the rest of the world.
(D) The number of deaths in fourteenth-century Europe has been greatly exaggerated by other historians.
(E) The significance of the Black Death is best explained within the context of evolving economic systems.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
C


3) The passage suggests that Twigg believes that rats could not have spread the Black Death unless which of the following were true?
(A) The rats escaped from ships that had been in Asia.
(B) The rats were immune to the diseases that they carried.
(C) The rat population was larger in medieval Europe than Twigg believes it actually was.
(D) The rat population primarily infested densely populated areas.
(E) The rats interacted with other animals that Twigg believes could have carried plague.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
C



For the 1st question , I was struck between B and D and ended up choosing B . .
Also for the second question , I cant reason out E to be the answer. Any thoughts of these , is highly appreciated.

Thanks,
Jyothi
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Re: The Black Death, a severe epidemic that ravaged fourteenth [#permalink] New post 29 May 2013, 02:32
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Nice passage . it clearly is from gmatprep because is clear and consistent. of course..

back to the question

1) The passage is primarily concerned with

(A) demonstrating the relationship between bubonic
plague and the Black Death - we already know this or at least there is some connection BUT we are discussing completely another thing in the passage; quite clear

(B) interpreting historical and scientific works on the
origins of the Black Death - no absolutely: is not the origin of black death: such as genetic mutations or something like that

(C) employing the Black Death as a case study of
disease transmission in medieval Europe - no. here we are studying other things

(D) presenting aspects of past and current debate on
the historical importance of the Black Death - correct. infact if you see the first phrases you could notice such statement

Quote:
The Black Death, a severe epidemic that ravaged
fourteenth-century Europe, has intrigued scholars ever
since Francis Gasquet's 1893
OR

Quote:
n the 1930s, however, Evgeny Kosminsky and other
Marxist historians claimed the epidemic was merely


As you can see ther is a historical unfolding of the events. this argument in somehow is circular: something is proposed, then the idea on that is changed, then someone back again into the question

(E) analyzing the differences between capitalist and
Marxist interpretations of the historical significance
of the Black Death - out of scope

2) Which of the following statements is most
compatible with Kosminsky's approach to history,
as it is presented in the passage?

(A) The Middle Ages were ended primarily by the
religious and political upheaval in fourteenthcentury
Europe. - no info about that or insufficient

(B) The economic consequences of the Black Death
included increased competition for food, shelter,
and work. - we already know or we can infer this but is incorrect; is not what we are looking for

(C) European history cannot be studied in isolation
from that of the rest of the world. - out of scope

(D) The number of deaths in fourteenth-century
Europe has been greatly exaggerated by other
historians. - out of scope

(E) The significance of the Black Death is best
explained within the context of evolving economic
systems.

Quote:
In arguing that this decline of
feudalism was economically determined, the Marxist
asserted that the Black Death was a relatively
insignificant factor.


As you can see is quite clear WHY E is correct

Moreover, you can see other signals about an economic framework in which Black death is carved: words such as tradeship, agrarian crisis, decay of feudalism and new economic era such as Renaissance......................

Hope is clear. If you have doubts do not esitate to ask ;)
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Re: The Black Death, a severe epidemic that ravaged fourteenth [#permalink] New post 02 Jun 2013, 03:17
Good passage. Got both right but probably took more time than I should have
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Re: The Black Death, a severe epidemic that ravaged fourteenth [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2013, 11:33
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This has to be 700 + difficulty level question.
Read the Passage two times still could not understand it completely and to complete the perfect day in office "got both the answers wrong"

Frustrated over my limited vocab and liked the explanation given by Carcass,I wish could interpret the things like you.

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Re: The Black Death, a severe epidemic that ravaged fourteenth [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2013, 09:35
Good RC. Apparently for 2nd question I guess the answer choice is wrongly indicated. It should be E and NOT C.

My stats: 7 mins; 3/3 :D
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Re: The Black Death, a severe epidemic that ravaged fourteenth [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2013, 20:58
took 5 mins to complete the passage and answer the questions.
Answers : B E C

Last one was quite easy I guess?
What is the level of this passage? I don't think it is 700+ it should be less
Re: The Black Death, a severe epidemic that ravaged fourteenth   [#permalink] 09 Aug 2013, 20:58
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