Flu: the story of the great influenza pandemic of 1918 and the search for the virus that caused it

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Simon & Schuster, Jan 9, 2001 - History - 330 pages
16 Reviews
The fascinating, true story of the world's deadliest disease. In 1918, the Great Flu Epidemic felled the young and healthy virtually overnight. An estimated forty million people died as the epidemic raged. Children were left orphaned and families were devastated. As many American soldiers were killed by the 1918 flu as were killed in battle during World War I. And no area of the globe was safe. Eskimos living in remote outposts in the frozen tundra were sickened and killed by the flu in such numbers that entire villages were wiped out. Scientists have recently rediscovered shards of the flu virus frozen in Alaska and preserved in scraps of tissue in a government warehouse. The author unravels the mystery of this lethal virus with the high drama of a great adventure story. Delving into the history of the flu and previous epidemics, detailing the science and the latest understanding of this mortal disease, sheaddresses the prospects for a great epidemic recurring, and, most important, what can be done to prevent it.

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Reviewed Dec 2003 ~ purchased for $1 from the book fair
An interesting history of the flu and other epidemics. It almost reads like a mystery but actually is a historical look at the flu. This is
especially interesting to read because I have the flu right now, and the news this week is flooded with discussions of deaths from the flu. What surprised me the most is how many people die each year (30-50K). the 1918 flu killed 40 million world wide, almost impossible to imagine.
The other think that surprised me is to realize that the flu deals with the lungs and not nausea (that would be the stomach flu). I never knew that fever, chill, coughing and headaches are flu not cold symptoms.
At points the book is technical (over my head) and sometimes confusing jumping back and forth between various people in time and place. Very well documented Kolata uses full names/dates/places to back up everything she says. This book would be useful for school projects as well as those interested in history.
My grievance lies in that there is so much info that a 2nd or 3rd read is needed. Also I am still not sure if scientists have come to a conclusion about the 1918 virus.

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

User Review  - Sally - Goodreads

I thought this was a fascinating look at a subject that I didn't know enough about. The chapters each had a theme and the writing was clear with technical and scientific situations explained well. I ... Read full review


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About the author (2001)

Gina Kolata is a science reporter for The New York Times and the author of Clone: The Road to Dolly and Sex in America. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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