Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918

Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 ⚡ Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 Books ✪ Author Albert Marrin – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk From National Book Award finalist Albert Marrin comes a fascinating look at the history and science of the deadly flu pandemic and the chances for another worldwide pandemicIn spring of , World War I From National Book Very Dreadful: ePUB ✓ Award finalist Albert Marrin comes a fascinating look at the history and science of the deadlyflu pandemic and the chances for another worldwide pandemicIn spring of , World War I was underway, and troops at Fort Riley, Very, Very, MOBI :Ê Kansas, found themselves felled by influenza By the summer of , the second wave struck as a highly contagious and lethal epidemic and within weeks exploded into a pandemic, an illness that travels rapidly from one continent to another It would Very, Very Dreadful: Kindle × impact the course of the war, and kill many millions soldiers than warfare itselfOf all diseases, theflu was by far the worst that has ever afflicted humankind not even the Black Death of the Middle Ages comes close in terms of the number of lives it took No war, no natural disaster, no famine has claimed so many In the space of eighteen months in, aboutmillion people one third of the global population at the time came down with influenza The exact total of lives lost will never be known, but the best estimate is betweenandmillion In this powerful book, filled with black and white photographs, nonfiction master Albert Marrin examines the history, science, and impact of this great scourge and the possibility for another worldwide pandemic today.


10 thoughts on “Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918

  1. Victor Sonkin Victor Sonkin says:

    Apart from the usual problem of books about pandemics authors focus on just one aspect, geographically, making it anything but pandemic the US in this case , this is a very good intro into the subject, with lots of useful and vivid pictures Since it s quite modern, it s very up to date some of the warnings are chilling these days of covid 19.


  2. Kris Kris says:

    Generally fine, but not everything I wanted it to be I wantedhistory and less science More about the impact upon culture and war and the people of the time Less about what scientists do with viruses in labs now, and less about other diseases Less random trivia.Side Rant The author clearly has a bias against religion He often condemns Christianity as being anti science which, granted, some have been in the past But when discussing Islam, he makes a clear distinction between the Generally fine, but not everything I wanted it to be I wantedhistory and less science More about the impact upon culture and war and the people of the time Less about what scientists do with viruses in labs now, and less about other diseases Less random trivia.Side Rant The author clearly has a bias against religion He often condemns Christianity as being anti science which, granted, some have been in the past But when discussing Islam, he makes a clear distinction between the majority of Muslims and extremists This indicates he s willing to accept a differentiation between Islamic beliefs but unable to accept differences in Christian beliefs Why is he talking about religions in this book anyway


  3. Josiah Josiah says:

    Pandemics that threaten to exterminate mankind are a popular plot device for dystopian fiction, but how many of us know that such an extermination almost happened in the year 1918 While millions of soldiers were being blown to pieces in World War I, a new mutation of the influenza virus began an unprecedented global death march Who could have foreseen that an H1N1 virus brewed in the bowels of birds would soon mow down victims of every age group, including young adults in the prime of life No Pandemics that threaten to exterminate mankind are a popular plot device for dystopian fiction, but how many of us know that such an extermination almost happened in the year 1918 While millions of soldiers were being blown to pieces in World War I, a new mutation of the influenza virus began an unprecedented global death march Who could have foreseen that an H1N1 virus brewed in the bowels of birds would soon mow down victims of every age group, including young adults in the prime of life No contagion could compete with this devil virus for the title of worst killer in history by comparison, AIDS claimed fewer lives from 1975 to 2014 than the H1N1 pandemic did just from August to November of 1918 What led to this black swan event that transformed societies worldwide Does history suggest that such a population bottleneck some estimates put the death count at one hundred million was inevitable In Very, Very, Very Dreadful The Influenza Pandemic of 1918, Albert Marrin guides our tour of the history of mankind s battle with infectious disease, and gives us a sense of the horror surrounding the 1918 catastrophe You won t want to miss this For thousands of years humans lived in small family clusters led by hunter gatherers who provided meat, fruits, and vegetables They rarely interacted with other families, so risk of contagious disease remained low a particularly nasty bug might wipe out a family, but then it died with no one else to infect The Agricultural Revolution saw families use the landefficiently to grow the food they needed and , allowing time for leisure and abstract learning Numerous families could gather into communities and sell their agricultural goods on the free market these communities grew into villages, towns, and cities People spenttime with friends and neighbors, and this made it easier for viruses to flourish Plagues came and went across ancient Europe, Africa, and Asia, and by 430 B.C we get the first report of an urban epidemic, which destroyed the Greek city state of Athens Athens had seemed destined to be a cultural and academic hub forever, but poor public sanitation led to a contagion that killed one third of its citizens The Plague of Athens ushered in the era of widespread contagious disease In Ancient Rome, the Plague of Justinian in the 540s A.D was far worse than what afflicted Athens During Constantinople s reign came the first recorded incident of bubonic plague, which ravaged Europe on and off forthan a thousand years before medicine found a way to restrain it The disease was transmitted via rats and fleas, which overran large cities These urban centers were full of rotting garbage, human excrement, and dead animals society had advanced since the ancient world, but we still had no reliable way to keep cities clean Bubonic plague preyed on commoners and royalty alike, causing excruciating, drawn out death Pestilence was a grim fact of everyday life When did Europe turn the corner on these outbreaks that regularly decimated its population for millennia Beginning in the 1600s, men of science such as Galileo Galilei and Sir Isaac Newton rejected the superstition of the past, determining that natural phenomena could always be logically explained Renewed study showed that many ancient ideas about medicine were wrong Robert Hooke, Antony van Leeuwenhoek, Louis Pasteur, Robert Koch, and others applied themselves to discovering biological causes of disease Joseph Lister revolutionized healthcare, insisting on sterile conditions when he performed surgery in order to minimize entry of hostile microbes into the body The late 1700s saw Edward Jenner s invention of the vaccine, the first broadly effective method to fight communicable disease Vaccines intentionally infected patients with lesser versions of dreaded illnesses, activating their immune systems so the lethal versions would do them no harm Medicine had made astonishing progress in a very short time, dramatically reducing death from bacteria and viruses, but mankind s confidence was about to be badly shaken as the twentieth century arrived The great grandaddy of all pandemics was poised to strike World War I was a hellish mashup of modern artillery and antiquated combat strategy Automatic guns tore human bodies apart at a terrifying rate, spraying the blood of young soldiers all along the Western Front, the main region in Europe where Allied forces France, Belgium, and Britain, among others fought the Central Powers Germany, Austria Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire Military units hunkered down in squalid trenches for months at a time, maintaining a stalemate that showed no sign of ending These trenches, spread over hundreds of miles and packed with soldiers, were ideal breeding grounds for the 1918 pandemic Exhausted, shellshocked, unclean, and exposed to the elements, fighting men easily succumbed to the influenza s first wave The virus genetically shifted from a minor annoyance to a deadly beast that sometimes killed within hours after the first symptoms appeared Germany became desperate as the United States reluctantly entered World War I at President Woodrow Wilson s command General Erich Ludendorff knew the time was now to press for the advantage, or Germany would lose the war This is when the devil virus hit with full force, piling up corpses on both sides of the Western Front Governments downplayed the threat to avoid alarming the citizenry, but the secret wouldn t keep for long The 1918 H1N1 pandemic was already the worst medical crisis in history Albert Marrin spares his young readers few of the emergency s ghastly details Dead bodies lay rotting everywhere beneath the hot sun on the Western Front In centuries past, disease spread slowly, but in the Industrial Age people could travel across a continent in a matter of days on a train or automobile, and asymptomatic carriers brought the devil virus with them As it mutated, entering its calamitous second wave, medical professionals realized we were headed for disaster The virus ripped through France, already weakened by years of war it hit Boston, Massachusetts like a tsunami, snuffing out lives by the thousand as bewildered civilians drowned in their own blood soaked lungs Very, Very, Very Dreadful explains in detail how the virus used a victim s own immune system as a weapon to murder them Even seasoned virologists, used to the gruesome aspects of the profession, were stunned by the sight of dead patients lungs during an autopsy, swollen with their own blood they had drowned in This H1N1 flu was a torturous way to die As we travel the globe to pursue every angle of the narrative, Albert Marrin relays a steady stream of stories that reflect the suffering on an acutely personal level, as well as hard data emphasizing the potency of the devil virus Mixed in are dozens of anecdotes about the trauma and tragedy of World War I, revealing the sheer brutality of the conflict The war was the perfect Petri dish for an influenza pandemic All our progress in medicine meant little now we were still ignorant about viruses, leaving tired doctors and nurses with nothing to do but try to keep patients comfortable as they vomited blood and wasted away in puddles of their own pestilence The second wave of the devil virus killed huge portions of the population in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, leaving no nation free of the scythe s blade Very, Very, Very Dreadful vividly brings the panic alive for us just as the world must have felt it, with death rates rising and no end in sight Could mankind survive a silent killer that slew tens of millions with ease and threatened much worse Victor Vaughan, an infectious disease expert, summed up the very real worry of the medical community If the epidemic continues its mathematical rate of acceleration, civilization could easily disappearfrom the face of the earth within a matter of a fewweeks Human nature looks to cast blame for events like the 1918 pandemic Prominent figures and average citizens pointed fingers at the German war machine or at supposedly inferior ethnic cultures Some insisted the devil virus was God s judgment on human decadence Politicians championed cures that were really nothing but placebos, and social distancing measures were strictly enforced in the United States, often at gunpoint in one instance, a blacksmith who refused to don a facemask was shot by a policeman And still the pandemic worsened the week of October 23, 1918, 21,000 Americans died Again Albert Marrin underscores the real human cost of the crisis with dozens of stories told by individuals who survived, stories that range from chilling to deeply emotional There are heroes and villains, lucky people and unlucky, forbidden from obeying their instinct to come together in a time of crisis because proximity was what the virus thrived on Would the human psyche ever recover from the pandemic What finally halted the devil virus The end of World War I was a significant factor With soldiers no longer sardined in trenches, the novel H1N1 strain couldn t spread as easily A third wave caused a temporary spike in cases, but by 1920 the pandemic was over The world had entered the twentieth century optimistic that the horrors of past generations had been dealt with, that humanity was on course for unending progress, but World War I and the influenza pandemic shredded those notions Would utopia ever become reality in a world where a virus could murder a hundred million people over a span of several months In the final chapter, Very, Very, Very Dreadful shifts to an exploration of virology, every bit as interesting as the historical narrative that precedes it In light of the 1918 pandemic, medical professionals saw how little they understood viruses, and set to work increasing their knowledge How is influenza actually transmitted Can its genome be sequenced with the goal of engineering a vaccine The problem, researchers discovered, is the rapid influenza mutation rate a serviceable vaccine one year may be useless the next Virologists must constantly be at work anticipating the genetic composition of next year s flu Failure to develop a mostly effective vaccine each flu season would lead to a massive global rise in deaths The high stakes game of cat and mouse continued for decades as researchers learnedabout viruses, but much remained a mystery even as this book first entered publication in 2018 Could a vaccine be created to counteract all flu mutations What would another pandemic look like a hundred years after the devil virus ransacked civilization Some of these questions were answered in the COVID 19 pandemic of 2020, which made Very, Very, Very Dreadful an uncannily timely book, but the war between man and disease continued Contagions have caused inestimable suffering, but the history of medicine proves there is reason to hope Very, Very, Very Dreadful is superior juvenile nonfiction by an author willing to make the deep research dive required for such an ambitious book Albert Marrin s writing is nuanced, contemplative, atmospheric, fast paced, emotionally charged, and deals in timeless social, political, and informational themes He makes clear his reason for writing this extensive treatise on mankind s endless struggle with disease An old proverb says Knowledge is power It is, and that is why I have written this book We need to look backward so we can look forward We must understand what happened a century ago so we can better face facts and better defend ourselves when the next pandemic strikes, as scientists believe it surely will Loaded with fascinating facts and stories, Very, Very, Very Dreadful is one of thestimulating nonfiction books I ve read a big part of me wants to rate it three and a half stars All that stops me from doing so is the author s occasional tendency to merge his opinion with the facts his condemnation of evangelist Billy Sunday, for example, or Marrin s assumption that U.S lockdown orders for the populace should have been handed down at the federal level Also, certain information in the book s concluding chapter wasn t designed to age as well as the rest of the manuscript Regardless, Very, Very, Very Dreadful deservespositive attention than it received Albert Marrin s talent for narrative nonfiction is sensational


  4. Conor Ahern Conor Ahern says:

    It s weird that we don t talkabout the flu Specifically, it s weird that the Pandemic of 1918 isn t up there with the Holocaust and WWII in terms of notable massacres of the 20th century Sure, we talk about it some I think a few of my grandfather s sisters died in it, and that s to be expected, given that about 1 in 40 who got the disease died, and children and people living in poor, urban areas werelikely to get infected But I feel like it s not given its due Aside from being e It s weird that we don t talkabout the flu Specifically, it s weird that the Pandemic of 1918 isn t up there with the Holocaust and WWII in terms of notable massacres of the 20th century Sure, we talk about it some I think a few of my grandfather s sisters died in it, and that s to be expected, given that about 1 in 40 who got the disease died, and children and people living in poor, urban areas werelikely to get infected But I feel like it s not given its due Aside from being extremely deadly far deadlier than all the wars of the 20th century combined, according to this book it s wild how truly global the pandemic was, and how unprepared for it the world was Accelerated by the squalor of urbanization, WWI, and increasing globalization, this pandemic was unlike anything before or since indeed, much of our current flu preparedness methodology is a reaction to pandemics such as the one from 1918 Perhaps the scariest section was the last one, which talked about the future of the flu Ever wonder why you only have to get the polio vaccine once, but you get a flu vaccination every year Well it s because the latter is extremely volatile and changes all the time Volatility means that it is constantly evolving, and so far we have been able to check it pretty well But a contagious flu which and this is so wild to me can only ever come about if bird droppings find their way into a pig s digestive tract, which pig then spreads it to human is capable of some really scary mutations, including the Bird Flu of the early 2000s, which could only pass directly from birds to humans but had a SIXTY PERCENT kill rate compare that with 2.5% for the deadliest flu ever The problem with the bird flu was that it could not be passed from one human to another And yet under lab conditions thank god , certain scientists have created versions of the bird flu with the mutations that would, if given to a human, be contagious from human to human, potentially setting off a global holocaust the likes of which we ve never before seen, and that would make the Black Death look benign by comparison These scientists were ostensibly conducting research, in the event that someone tried to use such a contagion for malign purposes after all, it s hard to sneak a nuclear bomb into a country, but you can carry a deadly flu without any detection whatsoever And then there s always the chance that something like this could evolve on its own I don t think we have any means for dealing with such a scourge Scary, scary stuff.ETA in the age of corona virus, we definitely do not have the means for dealing with this scourge


  5. Patricija - aparecium_libri Patricija - aparecium_libri says:

    Interesting and informative Loved the narrator


  6. Chinook Chinook says:

    I my flu vaccine How is it that I didn t learn about the 1918 flu pandemic in school I mean, we studied WWI, though perhaps not in much depth end of the textbook syndrome where the end often gets truncated due to time constraints I don t recall any mention of how much influence flu had on that war or the world at large This is the second book I ve read looking at this particular epidemic and this one at first reads especially YA I think at one point the book explains what vodka is B I my flu vaccine How is it that I didn t learn about the 1918 flu pandemic in school I mean, we studied WWI, though perhaps not in much depth end of the textbook syndrome where the end often gets truncated due to time constraints I don t recall any mention of how much influence flu had on that war or the world at large This is the second book I ve read looking at this particular epidemic and this one at first reads especially YA I think at one point the book explains what vodka is But as I read on, that bothered me less The end is a bit sensational, it felt perhaps a bit too much, but then it s a serious concern Worth reading and definitely worth sharing with the teens around you The number of people I know who seem to think the flu is no big deal and vaccination something that can be skipped is deeply concerning to me Perhaps a better understanding of what happened in 1918 would help influence people to make better choices


  7. Ericka Clouther Ericka Clouther says:

    Maybe 3.5 The main text about the 1918 flu pandemic left a lot to be desired Notable though is how the political narratives about whether to protect lives or positively spin things for continued economic activity have been repeated in 2020 It s remarkable how very similar a lot of actions have been even as they ve differed withstay at home orders Of the 1918 flu, Marrin wrote, Throughout the pandemic, the nation lacked a uniform policy about gathering places, and there was no central Maybe 3.5 The main text about the 1918 flu pandemic left a lot to be desired Notable though is how the political narratives about whether to protect lives or positively spin things for continued economic activity have been repeated in 2020 It s remarkable how very similar a lot of actions have been even as they ve differed withstay at home orders Of the 1918 flu, Marrin wrote, Throughout the pandemic, the nation lacked a uniform policy about gathering places, and there was no central authority with the power to make and enforce rules that everyone had to obey Each community acted on its own, doing as its elected officials thought best Um, yeah.The last 20% of the book dealt with subsequent research regarding viruses and was really interesting, by which I mean completely terrifying


  8. Jeffrey Powanda Jeffrey Powanda says:

    Wow, this is a terrifying look at just how bad the flu of 1918 really was This book wasdisturbing,frightening, anddisgusting than Stephen King s The Stand It will haunt me forever This is well produced book, written like a slick magazine article, with a great selection of photos and charts.Two things to note about the 1918 flu 1 The first wave of the 1918 flu was bad, but it was the second wave that proved to be fardeadly 2 The 1918 flu lasted three y Wow, this is a terrifying look at just how bad the flu of 1918 really was This book wasdisturbing,frightening, anddisgusting than Stephen King s The Stand It will haunt me forever This is well produced book, written like a slick magazine article, with a great selection of photos and charts.Two things to note about the 1918 flu 1 The first wave of the 1918 flu was bad, but it was the second wave that proved to be fardeadly 2 The 1918 flu lasted three years, from January 1918 through December 2020 As we pass through the first few months of covid 19, those two facts alone will give me nightmares


  9. Amie Amie says:

    Generally this book was ok, but my main criticism is that the description of the work that nurses did during the pandemic was reduced to fluffing pillows, saying kind words to patients, and being pretty faces The author does acknowledge that the work they did was physically and emotionally exhausting and that nurses were willing to put their own health at risk to help others, but offered no description of what that work actually entailed, beyond fluffing pillows and kind words I m certain that Generally this book was ok, but my main criticism is that the description of the work that nurses did during the pandemic was reduced to fluffing pillows, saying kind words to patients, and being pretty faces The author does acknowledge that the work they did was physically and emotionally exhausting and that nurses were willing to put their own health at risk to help others, but offered no description of what that work actually entailed, beyond fluffing pillows and kind words I m certain that the work that nurses did went far beyond this


  10. Natalie Natalie says:

    Horribly boring and completely fascinating all at the same time They found the guy from all the black and white school movies from the 1970s and had him narrate this book or it seems like it The voice was nostalgic and coma inducing, but the information was so interesting I knew that there was a flu pandemic in 1918, but this book helps readers understand how it affected the many things going on around the world at the time The book also helped to explain viruses themselves and how they mu Horribly boring and completely fascinating all at the same time They found the guy from all the black and white school movies from the 1970s and had him narrate this book or it seems like it The voice was nostalgic and coma inducing, but the information was so interesting I knew that there was a flu pandemic in 1918, but this book helps readers understand how it affected the many things going on around the world at the time The book also helped to explain viruses themselves and how they mutate and spread A super great nerd read Loved it


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