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The Great Influenza de John M. Barry
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The Great Influenza (edição: 2006)

de John M. Barry

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaConversas / Menções
3,3491082,835 (3.94)2 / 216
"In the winter of 1918, the coldest the American Midwest had ever endured, history's most lethal influenza virus was born. Over the next year it flourished, killing as many as 100 million people. It killed more people in twenty-four weeks than AIDS has killed in twenty-four years, more people in a year than the Black Death of the Middle Ages killed in a century. There were many echoes of the Middle Ages in 1918: victims turned blue-black and priests in some of the world's most modern cities drove horse-drawn carts down the streets, calling upon people to bring out their dead." "But 1918 was not the Middle Ages, and the story of this epidemic is not simply one of death, suffering, and terror; it is the story of one war imposed upon the background of another. For the first time in history, science collided with epidemic disease, and great scientists - pioneers who defined modern American medicine - pitted themselves against a pestilence. The politicians and military commanders of World War I, focusing upon a different type of enemy, ignored warnings from these scientists and so fostered conditions that helped the virus kill. The strain of these two wars put society itself under almost unimaginable pressure. Even as scientists began to make progress, the larger society around them began to crack." "Yet ultimately this is a story of triumph amidst tragedy, illuminating human courage as well as science. In particular, this courage led a tenacious investigator directly to one of the greatest scientific discoveries of the twentieth century - a discovery that has spawned many Nobel prizes and even now is shaping our future."--BOOK JACKET.… (mais)
Membro:tonypet
Título:The Great Influenza
Autores:John M. Barry
Informação:Penguin Highbridge (Aud) (2006), Unknown Binding
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

Detalhes da Obra

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History de John M. Barry

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    Flu de Gina Kolata (hailelib)
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    The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World de Steven Johnson (John_Vaughan)
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    Year of Wonders de Geraldine Brooks (labfs39)
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    The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, The Epidemic That Shaped Our History de Molly Caldwell Crosby (John_Vaughan)
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    Plagues and Peoples de William H. McNeill (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: This book talks about many of the plagues that have erupted throughout history and how they have influenced the course of history.
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    Fever 1793 de Laurie Halse Anderson (infiniteletters)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 107 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Being that we're in the midst of a pandemic, it seems appropriate to read a book about the most comparable event in recent history.

The format of this book took me by surprise: it is really a history of medical science, spanning roughly a century from the middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th. Although Barry covers the grim details of the pandemic itself, it's scaffolded on a story of the scientific evolution and discovery.

Global population was roughly 1.8 billion around the time of the 1918 pandemic, and total deaths came to around 100 million according to the numbers Barry cites, giving a death rate of 5.5%. Today, our population is around 7.8 billion, and about 3 million people have died from COVID, making a death rate of 0.4%. Death rates were significantly higher in majority-world population in 1918, with death rates in some indigenous communities reaching 100%!

I was surprised to learn about the state of public health at the time. Social distancing and masks were widespread, and photos from the era look strikingly similar to photos from today.

It's impossible to understand the 1918 pandemic without understanding the context of World War I. The book is almost as much about the war as it is about disease. The point being: wars always spread disease, and during a war, all else is sacrificed for the purpose of victory. If the pandemic had shown up in peacetime, it would have spread much less slowly, and civilian populations would be much better taken care of. And most importantly, newspapers would have likely been more truthful. No one knew what was going on during the pandemic, because newspapers across the world didn't speak about it, which made the populace understandably distrustful and fearful.

One striking point the author makes is that the world today is actually less prepared to handle a pandemic similar to the 1918 pandemic because we now have a significant proportion of the population that is immunocompromised (which was not the case in 1918).

Barry notes that, unlike wars, pandemics are notably absent from fiction. For whatever reason, people simply don't want to write about them.

The book could be shorter. Sometimes Barry goes on lengthy tangents, or dives a little too deeply into subjects. That said, it still has good pacing, likely due to the chilling content. ( )
  willszal | Apr 13, 2021 |
This would have been an excellent book without the covid pandemic, but of course the pandemic puts this right in the middle of things.

The book focuses on just a few years, especially 1918. We're introduced to some of the medical revolutionaries in their earlier careers, and we follow the trail to the determination of the viral pathogen of influenza in the late 1920s. The book mostly alternates between the struggles of the medical researchers to figure out what to do about the pandemic, and the story of the pandemics brutal devastation. There's some nice scientific explanation of details about the influenza virus family, and also quite a bit of reflective discussion on the nature of scientific research, the variety of approaches practiced by different researchers, etc.

The resonances with the current situation are quite remarkable. Barry does mention coronaviruses and some the their differences with influenza viruses.

This is really essential reading. ( )
  kukulaj | Apr 3, 2021 |
Highly informative. A tad melodramatic/hyperbolic, which lengthens the reading somewhat. ( )
  Mithril | Feb 27, 2021 |
Very interesting. Other reviewers thought the book should have been written as 2 books - one on the scientists, one on the epidemic - but I thought it was fine. This is mainly a book about American scientists (you get the feeling that they were the only country working on the influenza epidemic but that may just be the focus of the book) and really rather a sketchy overview of what actually happened to the the world with a bit more about America. So I think that works. My main problem was the language. It seemed to be trying to be playful and streetwise but the main effect was to make the reader guess at the meaning. I wasn't always sure what the author was trying to say despite rereading bits several times. Interesting nonetheless. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
Timely given the Covid-19 situation, and an interesting book, but very long and obviously originally a different book which got edited into a book more about the actual topic late in the process, leaving it feeling disjointed.

It's partially a basically chronological/factual story of the Spanish Influenza and how it affected various places (US centric, although it did cover everywhere somewhat) -- advances the argument that the virus started in Haskell County, Kansas (which is one of several). This part is decent, but focuses on a lot of the less-interesting details without really covering the broad scope well enough.

The original book, which mostly is grafted on at the end now, is the story of several scientists who were to some extent forgotten, and the general theory of how scientific progress is made (luck, capitalizing on opportunity, massive focused effort, and collaboration, leavened by politics, and all very unpredictable.). This part is interesting but seems like a separate book, and the underlying idea has been done better elsewhere (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Kuhn).

Overall, this might be the best book about the Spanish Flu, but it's still not great, sadly. ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 107 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
John M. Barry calls The Great Influenza "the epic story of the deadliest plague in history," but his book is somewhat more idiosyncratic than epic and in any case is not as interested in the 1918 influenza pandemic as in the careers of those American medical researchers who studied the disease.
adicionado por John_Vaughan | editarlection, Tim morris (Jun 26, 2011)
 
Barry organizes his story as a conflict between medicine and disease. The influenza pandemic, he writes, was ''the first great collision between nature and modern science''; ''for the first time, modern humanity, a humanity practicing the modern scientific method, would confront nature in its fullest rage.'
adicionado por pbirch01 | editarNew York Times, Barry Gewen (Mar 14, 2004)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (1 possível)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
John M. Barryautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Belanger, FrancescaDesignerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Ogolter, MartinDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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"In the winter of 1918, the coldest the American Midwest had ever endured, history's most lethal influenza virus was born. Over the next year it flourished, killing as many as 100 million people. It killed more people in twenty-four weeks than AIDS has killed in twenty-four years, more people in a year than the Black Death of the Middle Ages killed in a century. There were many echoes of the Middle Ages in 1918: victims turned blue-black and priests in some of the world's most modern cities drove horse-drawn carts down the streets, calling upon people to bring out their dead." "But 1918 was not the Middle Ages, and the story of this epidemic is not simply one of death, suffering, and terror; it is the story of one war imposed upon the background of another. For the first time in history, science collided with epidemic disease, and great scientists - pioneers who defined modern American medicine - pitted themselves against a pestilence. The politicians and military commanders of World War I, focusing upon a different type of enemy, ignored warnings from these scientists and so fostered conditions that helped the virus kill. The strain of these two wars put society itself under almost unimaginable pressure. Even as scientists began to make progress, the larger society around them began to crack." "Yet ultimately this is a story of triumph amidst tragedy, illuminating human courage as well as science. In particular, this courage led a tenacious investigator directly to one of the greatest scientific discoveries of the twentieth century - a discovery that has spawned many Nobel prizes and even now is shaping our future."--BOOK JACKET.

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