Customer Reviews for

Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It

Average Rating 3.5
( 22 )
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(11)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Exposes the Idiocy of Historians and the Media

This book is one of the most interesting books I have read in a decade. It isn't an exhaustive history of the epidemic; but it shows why one needs to be written. It doesn't explore the effects of the epidemic on the subsequent economic chaos and rise of totalitarianis...
This book is one of the most interesting books I have read in a decade. It isn't an exhaustive history of the epidemic; but it shows why one needs to be written. It doesn't explore the effects of the epidemic on the subsequent economic chaos and rise of totalitarianism, but it shows that this exploration needs to be done. It shows that one of the most important historical events of the past century has been overlooked both by historians and by the media. Perhaps some of the criticism about this book being superficial has merit. However, it is a book that will undoubtably cause others to ask the deeper questions and cause more intense historical studies to come about. I would recommend this book to anyone without question. Now I will read Crosby's book too. I would never have heard of it if it weren't for this excellent work.

posted by Anonymous on March 6, 2001

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Great

If I were to rate this book from 1-10 with 10 being the best, I would give it a 10 ½ if it existed. It was an excellent book about the history of the flu and the pandemic that ripped the world with its devastating influence. Gina Kolata really caught my attention throug...
If I were to rate this book from 1-10 with 10 being the best, I would give it a 10 ½ if it existed. It was an excellent book about the history of the flu and the pandemic that ripped the world with its devastating influence. Gina Kolata really caught my attention throughout the whole book. She exposed me to the history of the event as if I was there living through it. I enjoyed flipping through the fascinating facts I learned. I want to recommend this book to all students or anyone who seeks to pursue medicine because it is a wonderful adventurous story that takes the reader through the path of a researcher and a medical doctor. The book puts the reader in the spotlight and portrays the event so explicitly to intrigue its readers

posted by Anonymous on February 23, 2004

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2004

    Great

    If I were to rate this book from 1-10 with 10 being the best, I would give it a 10 ½ if it existed. It was an excellent book about the history of the flu and the pandemic that ripped the world with its devastating influence. Gina Kolata really caught my attention throughout the whole book. She exposed me to the history of the event as if I was there living through it. I enjoyed flipping through the fascinating facts I learned. I want to recommend this book to all students or anyone who seeks to pursue medicine because it is a wonderful adventurous story that takes the reader through the path of a researcher and a medical doctor. The book puts the reader in the spotlight and portrays the event so explicitly to intrigue its readers

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2001

    Exposes the Idiocy of Historians and the Media

    This book is one of the most interesting books I have read in a decade. It isn't an exhaustive history of the epidemic; but it shows why one needs to be written. It doesn't explore the effects of the epidemic on the subsequent economic chaos and rise of totalitarianism, but it shows that this exploration needs to be done. It shows that one of the most important historical events of the past century has been overlooked both by historians and by the media. Perhaps some of the criticism about this book being superficial has merit. However, it is a book that will undoubtably cause others to ask the deeper questions and cause more intense historical studies to come about. I would recommend this book to anyone without question. Now I will read Crosby's book too. I would never have heard of it if it weren't for this excellent work.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2008

    Microbiology Book Review

    Overall, Flu by Gina Kolata was a good book. The first seven or so chapters were interesting and full of detail pertaining to the flu of 1918. There was what seemed like short stories throughout the beginning of the novel that hooked me and kept me interested in the story she was telling. There were also a lot of interesting facts and tid-bits of information that were attention getters. The last few chapters in the novel, however, seemed like ramblings in between biographies of scientists working to break the mystery of the 1918 flu. It seemed that Kolata began filling the pages with useless information about scientist¿s personal lives. The end of the novel lacked a great deal of information about the actual flu of 1918. Although there was some information about influenza and some outbreaks that occurred after 1918, there wasn¿t enough information about it compared to the mass amounts of information on scientist¿s lives not dealing with this main issue at hand. In general, the pace of the novel was consistent and the novel was an overall easy read. Initially I really enjoyed the book, but by the time I finished it, I was disappointed with the author¿s lack of enthusiasm and consistency in her writing.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2015

    It didn't even feel like I was reading a book, it felt like I wa

    It didn't even feel like I was reading a book, it felt like I was watching a really good movie because of how detailed and thrilling it was. Not only was it a good book to read, but it was based on the true story of the flu and the pandemic that ruined the world and devastated many people. I learned so much from this book and it was very interesting to read. The first seven or so chapters were interesting and full of detail pertaining to the flu of 1918. There was what seemed like short stories throughout the beginning of the novel that made me want to keep reading the story the author was telling. There were also a lot of interesting facts and bits of information that were attention grabbers that I would have never learned without reading this book. Discoveries that were told about the flu were very harming and hard to read. It was said reading about all the awful things that were happening to the innocent people. Also it was hard to read about all the soldiers getting sick as well because all they were doing was fighting in the wars and they all ended up getting the flu, which ended in the death of most of them. The author definitely wrote this novel to engage all the readers and inform them of an awful plague that has changed the world, and she did a great job doing it. I would really recommend this book to anyone who wants a book full of facts, but not only that also a book that will keep you engaged with learning them.

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  • Posted January 3, 2013

    I thought Gina Kolata¿s Flu: the Story of the Great Influenza Pa

    I thought Gina Kolata’s Flu: the Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It was well written, easy for me to follow. Many of the chapters read like separate articles that could stand independently, which I not very novel like. The technicalities of microbiology were explained to the point where anyone could follow the explanation and fully understand how it worked.  I thought that it was interesting how she told the history of not just the 1918 influenza pandemic but she also told the back stories of many professors and scientists that worked with the patients and how they found many of the symptoms to be linked to other things. The back stories of the scientists made you want to support their success.  I also found the detailing of a flu scare that happened in Hong Kong with a jump from chickens to humans a very interesting story and how that particular scare and the research that went into studying it and comparing that to the 1918 ordeal was fascinating.




    I did read the chapter or two on the 1976 flu and I found it kind of irellivent to the 1918 influenza uunless it is seen as the link between the influenza outbreaks. It was also slowed down with its political ramifications and how she went through the story of the 1976 influenza outbreak. I could not bear the slogging through that mess and I wanted to just skip over it. Otherwise, a quick read with many interesting facts and implications for the future study of the mystery of the 1918 influenza pandemic. The last 10 pages describe some of the scientist's insights into how this virus might have become so lethal. The very brief discussion of these theories provides the reader with some food for thought. It is a shame that the author included so little material of this type throughout the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2012

    Fluffy

    Runs to the second result.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2012

    Good archival read

    Good read

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  • Posted December 13, 2009

    Interesting, topical

    Easy read, goes fast. Good picture of the history and current situation of H1N1, plus you learn what H and N mean! This was a book club read for me, nothing I would have read by choice. But I was intrigued by the topic and enjoyed learning about the flu. I recommend!

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  • Posted September 12, 2009

    A good book for getting a clear view about the history of flu

    This is a good research about Flu and history of the flu which covers both false and true beliefs about it and reviews the epidemics and pandemics. If you want to know more about the Flu, wether you are a professional or just interested for your own information, this is a very good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2008

    Finding the 1918 Flu

    A fascinating story about the quest to find and decode the 1918 influenza virus. It's a bit outdated now, thanks to advances in science, but still a good and informative read. I only had two complaints: I wished for footnotes, rather than the endnotes that weren't easy to reference without superscript numbers, and I wished Kolata's telling was more of a time line rather than individuals' stories. The first is rather minor, but the second would have made it easier to keep track of the narrative and just when certain events happened.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2007

    very chilling yet well written

    I picked this book off the shelf at a library for a last minute project- I had no idea I would enjoy it so much or get so caught up in the mystery of the little known Spanish flu. I now find myself wanting to do research and find out more about this horrible event. I recommend it highly!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2005

    Bio-history treasure hunt

    Though a bit dated as discoveries about the influenza virus that caused the 1918 pandemic have advanced well beyond the end of the book's narrative, still a readable work on the search for that virus. Also, Kolata's perspective may color the narrative and skew it slightly off of a true neutral presentation (if such is even possible), but not to a degree that makes it patently unfair. A good book and should be read in combination with Barry's 'The Great Influenza'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2001

    Good Story -- Superficial Approach

    Book dealt with a very interesting topic. Book's focus tended to jump around. Focus on Norway expedition was confusing since they didn't really find anything.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 11, 2015

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    Posted May 16, 2010

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    Posted March 21, 2015

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    Posted May 10, 2010

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    Posted October 29, 2008

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    Posted November 9, 2008

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    Posted May 24, 2012

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