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.
View all my reviews >>