From School Library Journal
Grade 6-8-This reliable, detailed resource begins in 1951 with scientists exhuming 1918 flu victims buried in permafrost (frozen ground which never completely thaws), hoping to obtain lung samples for examination. After this gripping opening, Aronson discusses earlier epidemics (bubonic plague, yellow fever, cholera, and polio) before examining the spread of influenza as it traveled the globe during World War I, primarily concentrating on its effects and social ramifications in America. The richly detailed text explains that the war and its "-poor sanitation, inadequate diets, and overcrowded and filthy conditions-" aided in the spread of the sickness. One chapter concentrates on reactions to the pandemic, ranging from the sublimely heroic to the ridiculous. The photo of a woman keeping a live deer by her bed to stave off the flu (one absurd home remedy) exemplifies the author's fine use of archival black-and-white photos to accentuate the text. Aronson concludes with the discussion of a possible vaccine and an ominous warning, "-there will be another pandemic of killer influenza virus-very possibly within the next few years." Students will be lining up for their flu vaccines after reading this book.Laura Glaser, Euless Junior High School, TX
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Reviewed with The Triangle Shirtwaist company Fire of 1911.
Gr. 7-12. Part of a new series on Great Disasters: Reforms and Ramifications, each of these books includes a detailed account of the particular event, the historical conditions that made it happen, and the changes that came about because of it. Aronson's style is sometimes dull, especially when she talks about the biology of the influenza pandemic, and she mistakenly describes malaria as a virus instead of a parasite. The narrative about the factory fire is much more dramatic, drawing on eye-witness accounts of the event and on social history of the labor conditions. Most compelling in both books are the facts of the deadly catastrophe and the final commentary that such disastrous events could happen again. Each book includes occasional black-and-white photos, a chronology, and a brief bibliography, but no source notes, not even for direct quotes. Hazel Rochman
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