Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Pale Rider: the Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World
Spinney's central question is why, when the flu pandemic killed such an enormous number of people - at least 50 million - it has never captured the limelight like the century's world wars, whose total deaths numbered 18 million and 60 million. So much is packed in a realtively brief text: a history of human pandemics, theories about what caused the Spanish flu to explode, scientists' attempts to contain it, and the tremendous impact a country's infrastructure, both from a political and a public health standpoint, had on the course of disease in that locale. Impressive for the attention drawn to the flu's ravages in non-European areas, this is a terrific read, intelligent but pitched for the general reader.