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Pandemic 1918: The Story of the Deadliest Influenza in History

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  632 ratings  ·  126 reviews
In January 1918, as World War I raged on, a new and terrifying virus began to spread across the globe. In three successive waves, from 1918 to 1919, influenza killed more than 50 million people. German soldiers termed it Blitzkatarrh, British soldiers referred to it as Flanders Grippe, but world-wide, the pandemic gained the notorious title of Spanish Flu." Nowhere on ...more
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published January 11th 2018 by Michael O'Mara
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Diane S ☔
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019, lor-2019
Fifty million dead world wide, over a third of the worlds population dead in just one year. One could greet a friend in the morning, and find out that person died the next day. I can't even imagine that something, outside of a war could cause such a tragedy as this. Yet, it was the Spanish flu, the Spanish lady that would spread across the globe, leaving heartache and terror in its wake. This book describes how it was spread, where it was spread, but also includes letters, journal and diary ...more
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history
If you are going to read this book, be forewarned: it is riddled with errors. Honestly, this book is an embarrassment to the craft of editing and it should never have hit the selves in it's current form. A military base changes locations from Texas to Kansas, the author confuses Winston Churchill's wife with his daughter, ect. Then there is the worst of them all:

"Ten to twenty percent of those infected died, a third of the world's population."

Your guess here is as good as mine. Is the author
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is a chronological retracing of the Spanish flu progression 1917-1918. Depends heavily on witness and survivor stories from medical records to diaries. Arnold uses these accounts to give voice to it, to take it out of the medical jargon and relay the human effect. The pandemic
Apr 21, 2019 added it
Shelves: health
The Spanish Flu Was a Form of the Bird Flu

Who reads books like this? I asked myself as I was reading the first chapter of this book. Still, IO continued to read on. And when I finished reading the book, I realized that I read books like this.

It was just that the book was so boring and respective in the beginning, but then it suddenly became interesting, actually frightening. No wonder we all fear plagues, even the flu.

I had the Hong Kong flu back in 1968. My first husband had it too, and we
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pandemic 1918 is the story of The Spanish Flu and the devastating effect it had during the early 20th century.

I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This was a harrowing read. Aside from a passing mention in Dennis Lehanes The Given Day, Ive been exposed to very little of the devastation caused by the Spanish Flu. It was an absolute monster estimated to have killed upwards of 100 million people worldwide (between 3 and 5 percent of the total population)
This book is highly anecdotal. It moves from place to place and tells you the happenstance of the dozens and dozens of tragedy epidemic situations (of the exact title) that occurred in 1918-1919. Most usually it was in 3 waves per location (not just national in wave but continental in wave) during that ending of WWI year.

If you want eye witness and name associations in every continent, place/ time of eruptions, than you'll like this book. Because that's about 90% of what's in it. It calls the
During 1918, while the final stages of the First World War were being thrashed out, the world at large faced a plague of Biblical proportion.
The book follows the progress of the flu's two waves across the world, giving description of the disaster as it unfolds in a near Medieval way and medical science attempts to isolate and provide, if not a cure, then at least some form of preventative measure. Similarly the steps governments took to protect their populations (or in some cases, helped spread
Liz V.
Nov 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
From Spring 1918 through 1919, influenza killed an estimated 100 million people, beginning while the world was convulsed with war.

Some few medical professionals, with experience with earlier pandemics, recognized that the disease represented a threat not seen in centuries, spreading rapidly with the movement of vast numbers of military personnel and the dislocation of civilians and with the usual deleterious effects of prolonged war on a previously unknown scale. Those professionals instituted
Book received from NetGalley.

Review to Come
Literary Soirée

The Spanish Flu killed my great aunt, who left behind a heartbroken husband and three young boys. That tragic event has echoed through generations of my family, so I snatched up PANDEMIC 1918 as soon as it appeared on NetGalley. This is a gripping read, one that needs to be shared in every history class across the land. We learn through eyewitness accounts of the worlds greatest medical holocaust, observing its 100th
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A terrifying and fascinating read. The descriptions from first hand accounts of the 'Spanish Influenza' are grim and the numbers who died are mind-boggling and hard to visualise. Definitely makes you want to take flu a bit more seriously, not knowing when the next pandemic is going to come along.

I think Sir Tony Robinson's quote on this book says it all, "A coherent, well-researched and sanitary reminder that another pandemic could be just around the corner".
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was very excited to get this book, so was left highly disappointed after several chapters. Instead of reading like eyewitness accounts as the title suggests, it reads like a very long and dry list of statistics. I heard the History Extra BBC radio podcast with the author and that interview was very engaging and intriguing. So I am surprised how dry the book is. I suppose I prefer narrative history in the style of Mr. Dan Jones.
A Reader's Heaven
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

Before AIDS or Ebola, there was the Spanish Flu Catharine Arnold's gripping narrative, Pandemic 1918, marks the 100th anniversary of an epidemic that altered world history.
In January 1918, as World War I raged on, a new and terrifying virus began to spread across the globe. In three successive waves, from 1918 to 1919, influenza killed more than 50 million people. German soldiers termed it Blitzkatarrh,
I've always found the Spanish flu fascinating, simply because we don't hear much about it. It had never been mentioned in any of my history classes in high school; it was only when I took a course in Twentieth Century European history that I heard of the Spanish flu for the first time.

This book is a good overview of the Spanish flu epidemic, and I definitely learned a few new things. It's based on people's personal experiences during the epidemic, so there's not an overarching organization to
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a fascinating book about something the world has largely (and quite quickly) forgotten about. There's certainly no better time to read a book like this. It's kind of like telling scary stories in the dark - you could do it in the daytime but it wouldn't have the same effect. Lots of anecdotal stories if that's what you want to interested in.
Giovanna Reising
I typically enjoy reading scientific histories but the grammatical errors and repeated phrases were distracting to me. The author referenced and individual named Underdown and within the same paragraph called him Underwood. The repeated statements and explanations left me wondering if this book had been edited. I had previously read several descriptive accounts of the Spanish Flu, one being from the Smithsonian, and felt that most of the information in this 300 page book could be summarized in a ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A well-written and thoroughly engrossing account of the little-mentioned flu epidemic that swept the world shortly before the end of the First World War and led to over 100 million fatalities worldwide. The tale of this epidemic and the associated statistics completely staggered me - for example, America lost 100,000 troops in their short involvement in the First World War yet 40% of these were victims of the influenza virus. A brilliant read told largely through accounts of 'little people' who ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nls-audio
Im convinced that, despite some editing and mathematical errors that appear to exist in the book with regard to death statistics, this remains the best collection of Spanish flu pandemic narratives out there. She includes facts about the pandemic that both fascinate me and will haunt me for a long time to come.

She includes stories here of supreme acts of heroism and supreme acts of cowardice and selfishness. Unscrupulous undertakers would unceremoniously dump bodies when family members werent
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author did a brilliant job of telling the story of the Pandemic of 1918 and intertwining the first hand stories of those that were affected by the virus. The emotions of the first hand accounts are riveting. The chronological work of how the virus swept across the world was very interesting. The circumstances that lead to the pandemic are a tangled web that shows no one was immune from the Spanish Flu. The fact that documents show that in some case it could have been prevented are amazing. ...more
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was exhaustingly researched and full of interesting and heartbreaking little stories about the horror that was the Spanish Flu. Ive read several books about this subject and still found fresh information here. Some of the details included might be a little dry for some readers but I appreciated the authors diligence. ...more
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The gruesome story of the 1918/1919 flu epidemic, which killed more people than the war. There are some very sad stories here, and there is also some interesting medical and social history. (The author might like to consider a chapter on the infamous "Spanish flu" insurance schemes which were sold mainly to working class people who couldn't afford them, if she ever gets round to a new edition!)
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-i, moira
One of the better books on the 1918 pandemic. She manages to use the social history and victims own words to convey the horrors of the disease. Couldnt put it down. ...more
Michelle Birkby
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really interesting insight into the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, full of anecdotes and stories of how it spread and who it affected as well as the impact it has on flu and pandemic research now
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, plagues
This is gonna get viral! Said the chicken to the man.
Anyway, it was a good book but I don't know why it took me forever to finish it. Because I was not that enthusiastic, apparently, I'll give you four stars and one week to rest in bed.
Mar 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read quite a bit on the 1918 pandemic and this book did have some interesting personal accounts I'd not read elsewhere, but the book as a whole often felt disorganized and repetitive, especially in the middle chapters.
A great book to read if you know a bit already about the 1918 Spanish Influenza. Honestly, this book may even be great to read if you know absolutely nothing about the 1918 pandemic but are looking for a place to start.

The main reason this book is so great is definitely because Arnold focuses on diaries and firsthand witness accounts to detail her story. Many other books about the 1918 biological disaster tend to focus very heavily on medical and scientific terms. While there's nothing wrong
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
If you want to know more specifics about the 1918 pandemic beyond it was the fluwithout being overly technical or clinical, this book is an excellent choice. I was amazed by the wide spectrum of symptoms as well as their severity. Having officially having the flu once in my life I know it is a miserable experience. That experience has nothing on the 1918 pandemic victims and their experience. The real life experiences threaded throughout the book gave it depth that a normal historical rendition ...more
Laura Mainwaring
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Makes apparent the global impact of the pandemic and gives insight into the lifes of those infected. The last three chapters on modern pandemics were extremely insightful. ...more
There was a lot of interesting information in here, underscoring the scale of the flu pandemic and the terrifying symptoms. It's certainly interesting that we've lost the fear of it in the collective memory, often seeing the flu as little more than a bad cold, when relatively recently it took on plague like proportions and, interestingly enough, coughing and sneezing was not always part of it.

However, I was a little put off by the style of the book. Often, key revelations were listed
The Spanish lady as the pandemic of 1918-19 was named (Spain was neutral in the war and had no reason to block news of the disease sweeping through the country, including killing it's king), is mostly just a memory from a century ago. Ms. Arnold has gathered together a variety resources to give her readers a personal look.

On a positive note: this collects multiple stories from personal memoirs, newspaper articles and interviews, stories retold by surviving grandparents to fascinated
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Catharine Arnold read English at Cambridge and holds a further degree in psychology. A journalist, academic and popular historian, Catharine's previous books include the novel "Lost Time", winner of a Betty Trask award. Her London trilogy for Simon & Schuster comprises of "Necropolis: London and Its Dead", "Bedlam: London and Its Mad" and "City of Sin: London and Its Vices".

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