After reading Gina Kolata's "Flu" I was really interested in the subject and wanted to learn more from another perspective. While Barry does this, his writing is so over dramatized that the ideas are lost in the poor delivery and lack of focus on the subject.
Though the subject matter is particularly interesting because of the current unpredictable threat posed by the H1N1 virus, I found it difficult to listen to the narrator for long. The delivery lacked appropriate expression; I often felt as though he wasn't aware of the situations and personalities he was reading about! I had the same feeling when listening to another of his readings ("Where Men Win Glory"), and thus fear he is set in his ways and shall avoid him in the future.
The story itself lent considerable insight into how and why the famous 1918 epidemic was so devastating, and why H1N1 has the potential to be far more so than most of us realize.
Retired nightclub performer/computer technician, I now teach hula and ukulele to seniors, and record Hawaiian music for my halau!
I am ready to tear my hair out after listening to Scott Brick's boring monotone. I wanted some background on H1N1, instead I am getting the history of medicine from the moment of creation. Tell you what, I am willing to give this book another chance, and cut to the chase. Ditch the first six hours! I'll see if my rating changes afterward.
H1N1 has been here before.
This is a totally engaging approach to the "Spanish Flu" history.
Not 5 stars because of the narration...not Mr. Brick's best work. The cadence of the reading is monotonous at times.
Mr. Barry's work documenting the disease was impressive. The book's scope was also impressive. At times the book didn't punch up to it's weight class.
The vignettes of individuals during the epidemic were heartwrenching, and I believe this book would be useful for anyone trying to have a broad understanding of viral dispersion and the effect on population. Where I find fault with Mr. Barry is on the seemingly endless character reviews of individual scientists that are qualitative vs. quantitative. It made the pace of the book flag for me. I cannot fault the author for trying to engage his readership by attempting to humanize these men and women attempting the superhuman, but, as I said, it did drag a bit.
The book communicated the horror of disease, the oh, so human attempt to conquer horror and the absolute disregard of nature. For that I will cherish it. For forty-five minutes of quasi-janesian character development, not so much so.
I had heard about a flu epidemic in 1918, but had never realized how awful it actually was. Two of my ancestors died of the flu within one week of each other in October 1918. I had discovered this while researching my genealogy. This made me want to find out more about it, and this book was very educational for me. I find the flu's effect on World War I quite remarkable. It must have been a very scary time to live through.
Thsi book is an excellent overview of the Spanish flu epidemic of some 90 years ago. With that being said, it is very detailed with a ton of medical jargon. If you would cut out the real down in the weeds medical jargon and other unneeded parts the book would probably be cut down to six or seven hours. The author goes into great detail about the early years of the doctors which is probably not needed for the casual listener. Overall, it is a decent listen.
I agree with an earlier review--this book would have been much better at half the length. There is much in it that has little to do with the Great Influenza of 1918. It does, however, lay out enough of the Great Flu story and impact on the times to be worthwhile. I would recommend readers start with Chapter 6--the first signs of the flu in Kansas. You will save about 5 hours--time well saved.
What a powerful book! I love history and if you do you'll love this one too. I do think that the author needs to be reminded that the Johns Hopkins University is a Quaker college. But other than his ranting against religion, he is quite good. What a time in HISTORY.