In his powerful new book, award-winning historian John M. Barry unfolds a tale that is magisterial in its breadth and in the depth of its research, and spellbinding as he weaves multiple narrative strands together. In this first great collision between science and epidemic disease, even as society approached collapse, a handful of heroic researchers stepped forward, risking their lives to confront this strange disease. Titans like William Welch at the newly formed Johns Hopkins Medical School and colleagues at Rockefeller University and others from around the country revolutionized American science and public health, and their work in this crisis led to crucial discoveries that we are still using and learning from today.
Now with a new afterword.
©2004, 2005 John M. Barry; (P)2006 Penguin Audio, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., and Books on Tape. All Rights Reserved.
"Gripping....Easily our fullest, richest, most panoramic history of the subject." (The New York Times Book Review)
"An enthralling symphony of a book, whose every page compels." (Booklist)
I can do other things while I listen. Mostly I listen to books on long road trips.
I liked the reader. He was quick, clear and read as if he were talking to me.
It scared me because there is a possibility of a pandemic even today and we would be faced with the same difficulties.
Everyone interested in medical science and its clinical applications should read this book to see how far we haven't come.
I was fascinated by the scientists who devoted themselves to finding a vaccine, the desperation with which they pursued all avenues. And, the ignorance of people who continued to spread the disease after being told to stay home, away from crowds, etc.
Fantasy and Romance Author
By turns horrific, fascinating, maddening, and thought-provoking, this book chronicles the rise and spread of a global pandemic in 1917-18 that killed millions of people, wiping out entire communities in some places, but which is little-known today.
THE GREAT INFLUENZA is not only a suspenseful account of the spread of a deadly disease to almost every nation on Earth, but also a searing indictment of how the American war effort under Woodrow Wilson's leadership helped spread the disease across the world.
Determined to send American troops over to Europe to fight, the influenza spread across America from military bases and training camps by ignoring the pleas of military medical professionals to quarantine the ill. The situation was then worsened when authorities used the strict wartime censorship laws to prevent accurate reporting, which was intended to bolster morale but had the opposite effect as people in affected cities and towns learned to distrust newspaper reports that contradicted the devastation and horror they experienced as bodies piled up in the streets and in houses, and hospitals were hopelessly overwhelmed by the numbers of the sick and dying, and the high death rates among nurses and doctors.
The book concludes with a somber look at modern efforts to chart each new wave of influenza, and what the inevitable pandemic might look like, in an era of hospital cutbacks and outsourcing of pharmaceutical manufacture.
I can't say this was an "enjoyable" book, but it was definitely very interesting and educational!
I've only experienced the audible version, but I think I may have been "bogged" down with some of the medical info had I read it in print
Our main character as he struggles with his possible personal responsibility for spreading the influenza to the young boys in his care.
I always enjoy Scott Brick very much. He helps the "sell" as I choose my audio books.
The ending was very sad ( but plausible)
I am 73 so the great influenza was before my birth, but my grandmother would talk about her 2 young sisters who died in 1918 from the flu in Norway.Another grandmother had 7 siblings die before her birth of a different outbreak in the later 1800's in Wisconsin. Thus this book peaked my interest.
My wife was, “Why are you listening to that?" I told her it was one of the most fascinating books I've heard. I would recommend it to anyone that likes history or medicine. It was an easy read and kept me interested for the entire length. The background in medical treatment was great. I can’t imagine living through this time period. However, the book does say I may get the chance with people’s aversion to getting inoculated against diseases.
This is a very detailed book about the influenza epidemic. It was extensively researched. Parts of it are long, drawn out, and perhaps overly detailed. These bits of information are important to completely understand the story, the condition and the events, but the author could have gotten to the same point with a few less details.
On the other hand the entire story is woven into this detailed analysis. There are some parts that are very graphic and NOT for the faint of heart. Parts are heart wrenching. All of it is important to having a clear understanding of the most devastating global epidemic in the world's history. At times it seems too long and too detailed. The end was too preachy, and left me wanting less, but then again it is also important and necessary to build our understanding of future global epidemics.
The story starts in the 1800s and talks about doctors and medical schools. It then flows in a linear fashion into world war one, the pandemic and into the 1950s. John Barry, the author, talks about the formation of heath institutions in the United States. He talks about how Roosevelt was afflicted with Influenza and how this may have set historical events into motion that built the foundations for world war two.
This is a fantastic book and offers a great piece of American history, and the birth of modern epidemiology. It is worth your time and energy to finish.
I have not read the print version of The Great Influenza.
The pace was actually quite fast, and kept it interesting, with much historical interest.
Some portions of the book seemed overly dramatic; however, this was a huge event that we learn little about. People living now generally have no idea how serious this was. It is the reason that we hear so much concern for the various influenza out-breaks around the world. The book is enjoyable to listen to. I recommend it to anyone interested in historical medicine.
If you are into detailed discussion of medical training, in the 19th century, the first third of this book is for you.
No, problem here is the incredible detail at the beginning, yet it also turned me off, I. E., move on. Some history with examples is a good thing but the author and his editor proverbially killed my interest in what becomes rumblings, I get it 19th century medical training was bad.
Editing the book to cut-out the seeming droning on and on about how medical traing was bad. Give a few examples and then move on to "meat" of this book about the 1918 influenza.
I would not recommend this book, in its audible version, unless you what to fall asleep while driving.
No. The story is too long and much of the information is repeated several times.More than 4-hours into the book the author still has not started the story of the Great Influenza. Some of the background information is pertinent to the story but much is not. Some of the book seems to being making an argumentative case for or against certain characters. Usually a balanced approach is taken by historian to let the read decide who is GREAT.
The basic story is a good one. Look for an abridged version as that would cut out the needed parts of the story.
This narrative performance was solid, and the story provided a fascinating window into the nascent science of epidemiology and an emergent new model for medical training here in America. I found it especially topical since I live and work in Baltimore, and see the incredible impact Johns Hopkins (where the central characters work and live and the bulk of the plot unfolds) has had on the global practice of western healthcare.
My only issue is with the title, which led me to think the book would be about the Great Influenza. Honestly, you get through half the book before this subject comes up in any significant way. The book is really about some incredibly dedicated visionaries who innovated a whole new a level of professionalism in medicine, previously a field that was very accomodating to quacks of every feather. These folks created, quite literally, a sea change.
A great read - - but don't get fooled that it's going to talk too much about the Great Influenza!
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