Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918” as Want to Read:
America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  266 Ratings  ·  25 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about America's Forgotten Pandemic, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about America's Forgotten Pandemic

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Shonn Haren
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it
As a student of the First World War, I've always been curious about the great Flu Pandemic of 1918. My curiosity is partially academic, this was a plague that killed at least three times as many people as the First World War, (and millions more than the Black Death of the 14th century) and yet we barely remember it.

Crosby does a good job of piecing together the progress of the flu across the United States, including chilling anecdotes, such as the city morgue overflowing in Philadelphia, or the
Aug 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A bit dry at times, but very informative.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Could be better organized.
Jan 28, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Dec 30, 2007 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
Dec 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 31, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
More of a history book than anything else. It is saved by a few chapters full of memorable anecdotes, but the statistics in this book drag on and on until you're glazed over and numb. The afterward discusses why Americans seem to have forgotten about the 1918 influenza pandemic. If living through the pandemic is anything like reading this book about it, I think I understand why it has been largely forgotten.
Dec 09, 2007 rated it it was ok
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.
Apr 19, 2009 rated it liked it
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!
Nov 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: medical, nonfiction
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.
May 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-interest
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--
Jan 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kurt Johnson
Dec 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting & scary
Maryann Jorissen
Feb 10, 2014 rated it liked it
I found this book very dry and difficult to follow. I only read it to know more about the mysterious illness that had significant impact on both sides of my family.
Allen Elggren
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you want to see how American Public Health will respond to Eubola, this is a the book to read. Not so encouraging.
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Barb Moermond
Dec 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is an utterly fascinating book and I highly recommend it to any disease/history enthusiasts.
rated it liked it
Dec 15, 2014
rated it really liked it
Mar 08, 2017
rated it really liked it
Jun 07, 2018
rated it it was amazing
May 09, 2018
Annette Ravn
rated it it was amazing
Jun 18, 2013
rated it it was amazing
May 22, 2018
rated it really liked it
Oct 09, 2015
rated it really liked it
Jul 20, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
about the book 1 2 Apr 02, 2014 09:39AM  
  • Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic
  • The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866
  • Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic that Remains One of Medicine's Greatest Mysteries
  • Bring Out Your Dead: The Great Plague of Yellow Fever in Philadelphia in 1793
  • The Doctors' Plague: Germs, Childbed Fever, and the Strange Story of Ignac Semmelweis
  • Pox: An American History
  • Time to Dance, a Time to Die: The Extraordinary Story of the Dancing Plague of 1518
  • Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82
  • The Barbary Plague: The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco
  • The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat: The Story of the Penicillin Miracle
  • The Black Death and the Transformation of the West
  • Before the Fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima
  • Disease: The Story of Disease and Mankind's Continuing Struggle Against It
  • The Black Death: A Personal History
  • The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years
  • Typhoid Mary: Captive to the Public's Health
  • Flu: The Story Of The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It
  • The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster, and the Water We Drink

Nonfiction Deals

  • A Guide to the Present Moment
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Breaks of the Game
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
    $9.99 $1.99
  • How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Dry
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Measure of a Man
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
    $13.99 $2.99
  • 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
    $17.48 $1.99
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice
    $12.49 $1.99
  • The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Scar Tissue
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Running with Scissors
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
    $9.99 $2.99
  • 1968: The Year That Rocked the World
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
    $9.99 $2.99
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini
    $22.95 $1.99
  • Facing Your Giants: The God Who Made a Miracle Out of David Stands Ready to Make One Out of You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Egg and I
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
    $12.74 $1.99
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Just Another Kid
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Second World War
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
    $11.24 $1.99
  • Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism
    $13.99 $1.99
  • I Am Not Myself These Days (P.S.)
    $13.24 $1.99
  • In the Beginning...Was the Command Line
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Toltec Art of Life and Death
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It
    $9.49 $2.99
  • The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top
    $17.99 $2.99
  • A Brief History of Time
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Penguin Lessons
    $12.99 $1.99
  • What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About God
    $11.49 $2.99
  • Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier
    $11.99 $1.99
  • No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Loudest Voice in the Room: How Roger Ailes and Fox News Remade American Politics
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started theLongest War in American History
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness
    $17.99 $1.99
  • French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters
    $12.49 $2.99
  • When the Game Was Ours
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Tomorrowland: Our Staggering Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Power
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Through My Eyes
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Brief History of Everything
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The World's Religions, Revised and Updated (Plus)
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Leonardo's Notebooks
    $11.99 $2.99
  • An American Childhood
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Making Toast
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN
    $11.99 $2.99