books I've read

Anne Hawn's books

Who Moved My Cheese?
If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans
Scientific Secrets for Self-Control
Just One Damned Thing After Another
The Vanishing
Exercises in Knitting
The Good Dream
The Very Best of Edgar Allan Poe
The Chosen
BT-Kids' Knits
Talking God
The Professor
The Christmas Files
The Finisher
Home Decor for 18-Inch Dolls: Create 10 Room Settings with Furniture and 15 Outfits with Accessories
Dracula and Other Stories
A New Song
All Quiet on the Western Front
File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents

Anne Hawn Smith's favorite books »

I'm reading 150 Books

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a great book. It answered so many questions I had about this extremely virulent flu and what were the circumstances that allowed it to reach epic proportions. I especially wondered why people in the prime of life were the most susceptible. Basically, they were the ones who had the most active defense mechanisms. Often times, it is not the disease or bacteria which kills an individual, but the methods a body uses to fight the disease. For example, if I am allergic to pollen, my body produces a large quantity of mucus. It is this dripping faucet that makes me so miserable, but it is actually my body's defense which is causing the symptoms. This is the same thing that happens in a bacterial infections. The patient usually runs a high fever which is a sign that the body is fighting the disease; however, it is the fever which sometimes causes brain damage. The young people in the prime of life had systems which aggressively fought the disease and often this is what killed them. I have simplified this a great deal, but this was part of the explanation.

I also was fascinated by the work done by scientists to quarantine and study the disease. Many gave their lives to try to understand how this virus and bacteria worked. The subject is treated thoroughly, but in a way that the layman can understand.

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