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

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9780743203982: Flu: The Story Of The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It
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A national bestseller, the fast-paced and gripping account of the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918 from acclaimed science journalist Gina Kolata, now featuring a new epilogue about avian flu.

When we think of plagues, we think of AIDS, Ebola, anthrax spores, and, of course, the Black Death. But in 1918 the Great Flu Epidemic killed an estimated forty million people virtually overnight. If such a plague returned today, taking a comparable percentage of the US population with it, 1.5 million Americans would die.

In Flu, Gina Kolata, an acclaimed reporter for The New York Times, unravels the mystery of this lethal virus with the high drama of a great adventure story. From Alaska to Norway, from the streets of Hong Kong to the corridors of the White House, Kolata tracks the race to recover the live pathogen and probes the fear that has impelled government policy.

A gripping work of science writing, Flu addresses the prospects for a great epidemic’s recurrence and considers what can be done to prevent it.

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Review:

Feeling tired, achy, and congested? You'll hope not after reading science writer Gina Kolata's engrossing Flu, a fascinating look at the 1918 epidemic that wiped out around 40 million people in less than a year and afflicted more than one of every four Americans. This tragedy, just on the heels of World War I and far more deadly, so traumatized the survivors that few would talk about it afterward. Kolata reports on the scientific investigation of this bizarre outbreak, in particular the attempts to sequence the virus' DNA from tissue samples of victims. She also looks at the social and personal effects of the disease, from improved public health awareness to the loss of productivity. (The disease affected 20- to 40-year-olds disproportionately.)

How could this disease, now almost trivial to healthy young people, have become so virulent? The answer is complex, invoking epidemiology, immunology, and even psychology, but Kolata cuts a swath through medical papers and statistical reports to tell a story of an out-of-control virus exploiting an exhausted world on the brink of transition into modern society. Through letters, interviews, and news reports, she pieces together a cautionary tale that captures the horror of a devastating illness. Research marches onward, but we're still at the mercy of something as simple as the flu. --Rob Lightner

About the Author:

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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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780374157067: Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It

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ISBN 10:  0374157065 ISBN 13:  9780374157067
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999
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9780756782771: Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 And the Search for the Virus That Caused It

Diane ..., 1999
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9780783890197: Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It

G K Ha..., 2000
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9780333751053: Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandmic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It

Farrar..., 2000
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9780330484237: Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pa

Pan Books, 2001
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