The Great Influenza

The Great Influenza

The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History

Book - 2009
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At the height of WWI, history’s most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four months than AIDS killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. But this was not the Middle Ages, and 1918 marked the first collision of science and epidemic disease. Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research and now revised to reflect the growing danger of the avian flu, <i>The Great Influenza</i> is ultimately a tale of triumph amid tragedy, which provides us with a precise and sobering model as we confront the epidemics looming on our own horizon. John M. Barry has written a new afterword for this edition that brings us up to speed on the terrible threat of the avian flu and suggest ways in which we might head off another flu pandemic.
Publisher: New York, NY : Penguin Books, 2009
ISBN: 9780143036494
Characteristics: 546 p. : ill. ; 22 cm


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Jul 25, 2017

Absolutely amazing read. I work as an administrative assistant to a pathology team and learning the immune system processes in more detail was fascinating. I also will continue to get my annual "flu shot" and in years when the CDC/NHI/WHO isn't sure they have the routine vaccination "right" (such as winter of 2016-17) I will always opt for the higher-priced quadrivalent vaccine instead (like I did last fall). The organisms' "shift" versus "drift" explanation is also particularly horrifying.

Jun 21, 2017

Point Of Fact: The reason it is called the Spanish Influenza is because Spain, being neutral during World War I, did not censor its papers and news media, which is why the world first learn of this pandemic through the deaths in Spain. It is surmised this nightmare was created when the flu strain that had developed in the New World combined with the flu strain of the Old World, creating a super strain that killed people faster than they could be buried or, in some cases, even have time to realize how sick they were (one woman, as a child of eight, remembers walking down the streets of London while people dropped dead around her mother and her.) Bureaucratic obstinacy created this pandemic as many `top brass` refused to admit there was such a crisis (bad for patriotic morale) and (in the case of the United States) kept stuffing sick soldiers into troop ships and sending them `off to do battle`...until the flood of telegrams reached them reporting arriving ships loaded with nothing but corpses! For an excellent documentary on this unjustly forgotten nightmare, see 'INFLUENZA 1918', a PBS special in the St. Louis City Library`s Film Library - both in DVD and VHS.

Mar 17, 2016

Epidemics fascinate me. This read is very, very long, and I felt confused by the author repeating much of it & thought he jumped around too much. This author was excellent in his research, but he could have used an editor & a proof reader. UPDATE: It has taken me nearly 3 weeks to complete this book, however it took the author 7 years to write it. I highly recommend this work, even if one only reads the last chapter, the importance is of great value.

Some real pearls sprinkled in this history lesson. Lots of technical biology, microbio, etc. For me, it was an eye-opener about W.Wilson decisions, leaving me not on the admiring side of his term in office. Not to belabor the issue, but I kept thinking this is a case of US officials certainly didn't have their act together - while Rome burned Nero fiddled - while thousands died the gov't sat on their thumbs. To give credit, 'we' were incredibly naive & blind. The panic & terror of this pandemic caused untold deaths not so much in the disease, but due to starvation of those infected.

I was not the least bit surprised with the majority belief that is was NOT Spanish Influenza as so commonly referred to. Sound reasoning why it's a misnomer. The number of deaths from this contagion is staggering & frightening. As a companion read at the same time is Last of the Dough Boys - excellent history lesson on The Great War despite the audio is not the voice I prefer.

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