Customer Reviews for

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Remember the Bugs in War of the Worlds

Talk about relevant books for our time. This one is most current and very topical. Of course the interesting thing about influenza outbreaks is how much terror they create in people along with the unfortunate death and disablement that the pandemics leave in their wake....
Talk about relevant books for our time. This one is most current and very topical. Of course the interesting thing about influenza outbreaks is how much terror they create in people along with the unfortunate death and disablement that the pandemics leave in their wake. This well-researched work by author Barry provides an interesting and informative journey through the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 1918 and 1919. Gee, that is the same virus that is suspected in the current "swine flu" outbreak. This author plods along from the beginning of the 1918 outbreak, with its suspected origination in the midWest (USA). All the medical researchers and many government health leaders are briefly profiled along with clear explanations of the virus and its workings, even us laymen readers can understand. Most shocking in this story is the all-consuming effort by the US government to gear the country up for fighting the Germans in World War I. Censorship, stupidity, hate, ignorance and numerous other factors play into the nation led by President Wilson that made this outbreak much more devastating than it should have been allowed to become. It is estimated that almost 50 Million people around the world succumbed to the virus. One is shocked by the medical and political behaviors that the author presents. This is must reading for a proper understanding of how virus and man live together and have lived together for probably thousands of years. Finally, I must comment on the important fact as to why this flu (and the current one) proved so fatal to young people (usually aged 19 to 35 years, their prime years). Do not be shocked to learn that it is our own body's strong immune systems (strongest in that age group) that in its fight against the H1N1 virus literally tore the person's internal body parts apart resulting in the high mortality rate. The virus killed by causing a massive immune reaction. I found this to be the most tantalizing bit of information presented in this tome. That and the fact that fear of flu pandemic is what we have to look forward to in the next attack. Maybe in the spring? Good luck.

posted by Tennesseedog on November 29, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

disappointed

I found this book difficult to follow due to the large use of peoples names and how the book seemed to change topics repeatedly. There is a large amount of science information & clinical terms which at times can be difficult to follow, even for myself who has a medical...
I found this book difficult to follow due to the large use of peoples names and how the book seemed to change topics repeatedly. There is a large amount of science information & clinical terms which at times can be difficult to follow, even for myself who has a medical career.

posted by Anonymous on January 15, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2007

    A reviewer

    There were parts that were very interesting such as the discriptions of the diseases, however the rest of the book only talked about people who were in some way affiliated with the discovery of a vaccination for influenza. The accounts of these people were completely irrelevent to the subject matter, going into minute details such as their marital status, their eating habits, and their overall happiness. Thus had these irrelevant parts been expunged, the book would have been half as long and twice as interesting.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2007

    disappointed

    I found this book difficult to follow due to the large use of peoples names and how the book seemed to change topics repeatedly. There is a large amount of science information & clinical terms which at times can be difficult to follow, even for myself who has a medical career.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2012

    Way too tedious...it might as well be a text book

    I picked up this book after seeing a PBS series on this subject. I found the subject fascinating. However I found the book to over-anlaytical about the science of medicine. The details in which author goes to so that the reader can get an in depth understanding of how a doctor works to cure a disease was too much. I skipped most of it because I was mostly interested in how the disease began, its affects on the country, whats was being done about, and how it eventually subsided. The gist of the book was that the government wasn't prepared (or didn't know how) to deal with the illness as it was affecting the war in europe leaving Woodrow Wilson (a victim of this flu near its end) with having to choose between two evils...continue packing men onto ships where the disease would infect the military leaving them unable to fight upon arrival in Europe or wait until the influenza came to an end while watching Europe become infected by the enemy.

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