- Paperback: 546 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Revised edition (October 4, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143036491
- ISBN-13: 978-0143036494
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 574 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History Revised Edition
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About the Author
John M. Barry is the author of four previous books: Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America; Power Plays: Politics, Football, and Other Blood Sports; The Transformed Cell: Unlocking the Mysteries of Cancer (cowritten with Steven Rosenberg); and The Ambition and the Power: A True Story of Washington. He lives in New Orleans and Washington, D.C.
Top customer reviews
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The book is well researched, yet the key element that makes the book readable is the narrative about the state of medical science, medical schools and their evolution at the start of the 20th century. Then the historical context is set up for the events that followed. There is also a detailed account of why the pandemic took such a toll on the world.
Every year we are told to get vaccinated against the flu. After reading this book and having lost my son to the flu, the book gave me a deeper understanding of the forces at work and why sometimes the outcome can be so deadly.
I highly recommend this book.
The book is, my opinion, well written. There are so many characters, however, that I had to retrace my steps from time to time in order to refresh my memory of who was working to stop the spread and who was pushing hard to keep moving soldiers from place to place within America as well as abroad. It was primarily the troop movement that enabled the disease to become a world-wide pandemic.
I do not wish to discourage anyone from reading the book: it probably explains how a disease killed more than 21 million people before it ended in 1920, in a world population of less than one-third of what it is today, about as well as it can be explained.
If you should choose to read the book, just be prepared to decide how much medical history you wish to read. What is most discouraging is the fact that the American medical system isn't that much different in its unwillingness to accept change in the diagnosis and treatment of illness from the way it was then. Thankfully, research has prevailed, and science and technology have given us a great armament of knowledge and weapons with which to prevent and cure disease.