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

3.87  ·  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)
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Patrice
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
...more
Caitlin
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
...more
Jean
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A bit dry at times, but very informative.
Athena
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Could be better organized.
Tom
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
Douglas
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
...more
Richard
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.
Dan
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.
B
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.
Julia
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.
Joy
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!
Spicedhamcatcher
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.
Helena
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.
Kelsey
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.
Godlarvae
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--
CMT325
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.
Lynnanne
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.
Josh
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Dec 15, 2014
Rebekah
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Mar 08, 2017
Embla
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Jun 07, 2018
Sarah
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May 09, 2018
Annette Ravn
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Jun 18, 2013
Kyle
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May 22, 2018
Maureen
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Oct 09, 2015
Angela
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Jul 20, 2012
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