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America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918
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America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  169 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Between August 1918 and March 1919 the Spanish influenza spread worldwide, claiming over 25 million lives, more people than those perished in the fighting of the First World War. It proved fatal to at least a half-million Americans. Yet, the Spanish flu pandemic is largely forgotten today. In this vivid narrative, Alfred W. Crosby recounts the course of the pandemic during ...more
Paperback, 2nd ed., 356 pages
Published July 21st 2003 by Cambridge University Press (first published January 26th 1990)
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Patrice
I think this book is complimentary to Gina Kolata's work on the same topic. There is obviously some overlap. They both discuss the epidemic in 1918 and 1919 and they both discuss research since up to points of their respective dates of publication. Kolata's book spends less time on the epidemic and more time on the progression of research since leading up to isolating the 1918 strain of flu. The bulk of Crosby's book focuses on the epidemic and its impact on American and European civilians and m ...more
Caitlin
This is by far the scariest book I have ever read and the worst part about it is the fact that it's true! I read this book shortly before the H1N1 virus started making headlines earlier this year. The current strain is closely related to the strain from 1918. "Official" estimates at that time were that close to 30 million people died, but modern day historians and scientists think that many people died in India alone! Some estimates go as high as 100 million!

Crosby does a fantastic job of inform
...more
Tom
I always wanted to read a history of the pandemic and finally got my chance. I didn't find too many books on the subject. I was hoping for a social history of the event. This book didn't provide that. It was interesting and provided much statistical information, and how authorities try to deal with the influenza but their was very little about the social impact of the disease. At the end of the book the author explains why the limited social history of the pandemic. It was a very short event, la ...more
Douglas
Dec 30, 2007 Douglas marked it as to-read
I had seen books and information about the Flu pandemic of 1918 and it is shocking how devasting this was. It was a form (I think) of avian flu which is scary because of recent incidents with asian bird flu issues. The 1918 strain was estimated to have killed between 50 to 100 million people based in some data I have seen. That is so scary.
I loved reading "Hot Zone" by Preston years ago and took some medical geography courses in college. I just find it fascinating how these medical detectives tr
...more
Dan
Nov 02, 2014 Dan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Very readable, and a useful overview. The constant, recurring theme was how much existing health systems and social systems--like systems of managing the dead--broke down under the stress of this incredibly fast-moving virus. In some ways, cities were lucky that it went so quickly; things like shortages of morticians and gravediggers were not long-lived.

The best chapter is the look at Samoa and Alaska: it demonstrates a very strong role for human agency in disease management.
Allen Elggren
If you want to see how American Public Health will respond to Eubola, this is a the book to read. Not so encouraging.
Richard
A good chronicle of events that transpired in the 6 months prior to September 1918 and the six months after. The descriptions of what happened at Ft Devens and the naval prison on Deer Island in Massachusetts were of particular interest to me. I found it interesting that the government was issuing vaccines during and after the epidemic as a placebo. They actually had no idea what was going on. The idea of bacteria and virus was only about 50 years old at the time.
Julia
Though it's considered to be one of the best sources on the flu pandemic of 1918, I found this book to be incredibly dry. Maybe it's my video-game, Hollywood blockbuster, TV violence up-bringing, but it felt as if it read like a roster of how many soldiers got sick and how many died in every single army company across the globe.
Joy
Bought it, set it aside. Started it, set it aside. It is well-written and interesting from an historical perspective, and full of stuff people just don't think about. (i.e., what was going on overseas during the War as people died at home in America from influenza.)
I have yet to get past page 50! But I WILL finish this book!
Spicedhamcatcher
Really fascinating look at the 1918 pandemic. I was impressed by the breadth of his coverage, with each topic - whether it was the affects on indigenous populations I Alaska & Western Samoa or how major political events were touched by the pandemic - each discussed in reasonable and interesting detail.
Helena
first published as epidemic and peace (before the recent bird flu concerns), this title more accurately describes its contents. still a great read if you are interested in the ways people and the government approach dealing with epidemic diseases throughout history.
Kelseypearl
Probably would have gotten more out of it if I wasn't using it for my lit review.

It was full of useful information and graphs. An updated edition would be nice, especially on some of the correlations between H1N1.
Godlarvae
A very readable account of the flu pandemic of 1918. Almost to the point of a research paper but it was easy to skip the graphs and other notations.
Amazing the virulence and shortness of the disease--
Mrs. TB
It was okay. It's scary to see how in about one year, a disease that could not be stopped spread around the world and killed so many,. However, the book is not written in a very interesting way.
Lynnanne
Interesting if you're interested in disease, and how it can spread.
A little tedious at parts, but an eye opener for sure...especially if your are a health care provider.
Leslie
Great information, but really hard to get through! Lots of details about science and politics, etc.
Barb Moermond
This is an utterly fascinating book and I highly recommend it to any disease/history enthusiasts.
Survina
Good read, great chapter on what happened in Alaska, cities and villages.
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