A Review of The Great Influenza

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nothing happens in isolation. A strain of influenza appears suddenly and lethally. This is bad. But it happens during a time of war. Even worse. Those prosecuting the war make things worse by severely restricting the flow of information, even lying to the public about what was actually happening. Monsters in the dark are to be feared the most.

The book covers a lot of territory, ponderously in places. But it teaches lessons that apply to today. How we treat scientific evidence. How we make complex decisions.

The only criticism that I would offer about the book, aside from the ponderousness, is that it makes villains of those who did not react early enough. This is a disease of brilliant minds that see further than the rest of us but do not have the time or inclination to explain in terms that the masses needed to understand.

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