The story itself was interesting and illuminating. However, the narration grated on me for the entire book. It was like he was speaking IN ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME. IT WAS VERY URGENT AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE TO HAVE SOME CONTRAST BETWEEN THE PARTICULARLY HORRIFYING PARTS AND THE PARTS THAT WEREN'T SO MUCH. OR MAYBE EVEN BETWEEN WORDS IN THE SAME SENTENCE. See? Annoying.
This book opened my eyes to the cyclical and mutating nature of disease, and the fragility of our modern culture.
History (and historians) can be 'dusty' or dry. No worries here, as this was absolutely fascinating, I have a lot of Audible books and this is still one of my all-time favorites. Barry really painted a picture of the situation, and the pace was great as the story unfolded. It is also interesting to see which groups of people responded to the crisis, and how. I thought that modern medicine would be able to handle outbreaks like this, but there are some factors in modern society that John Barry walks through to discuss the new risks.
I was truly shocked at some of the things in this book. The sheer magnitude was surprising to me.
Easily credit worthy. A top 10 all time favorite, out of hundreds of Audible titles in my virtual library.
Do *NOT* read this is you are a worrier or germaphobic 8-)
If you like/ liked this then you need to read 'The Demon Under the Microscope', which is different but phenomenal.
Even though this book was really good I don't think I'ld listen again because it was soooo intense and super long! Sometimes it went off on a tangent and I forgot how the subsection was connected. But it wasn't just about the flu, I learned so much about the H1N1 strain, virology and pandemics. It's a bit scary too when you learn about what actually happened and how it was spread!
The print version much better; I found the performance emphasis on words and style very distracting. The narrater made every single fact sound all SO IMPORTANT!! It was like reading a book that someone else highlighted; someone that has a very different point of view than you. Great book, but I did not finish the audio version.
Best Medical History
The juxtaposition of the scientific evolution and the human condition predicated by the Influenza pandemic and its ongoing impact for the world at risk of a similar pandemic today.
I was very moved by the personal experiences of the men, and few women, of the scientific community which run through the entire book. .
I think this book is a must read (must listen) for anyone in the medical community, anyone interested in the social and political impact of disease, or anyone with a passion for history. Beautifully written and narrated, I listened during any moment I had available. Highly recommended!
Imagine Captain Kirk reading a history book written in the 1950's and you'll get a good idea of what this reading sounds like. Scott Brick is usually a very good reader, I have no idea why he decided to make this book sound so overbearing and massively dramatic. Maybe he felt the story was boring and needed some punch? Whatever his reasons, listening to it made my ears tired and had me wishing for sweet silence after just a few chapters.
The book itself could have used a good editor. There's plenty of incredible information here, and some amazing history that was never taught in schools (but should be), but it seems padded with plenty of fluff and some irritating repetition.
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.
Too much political pontification. The book took an interesting subject and beat the life out of it.
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.
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.