Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday=Book Review Time--Feeling sick?

Up for today: THE GREAT INFLUENZA by John M. Barry

Product Details

Why I bought it? It was October's choice for my book club. I was excited about it. It sounded interesting. I ordered it online from Amazon along with several others.

Synopsis: It explains the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. How it happened. The medical environment of the time. The primary players in infectious diseases research prior to and during the epidemic/pandemic. The role of WWI in the spread of the virus.

What I thought? The research that went into this book was astounding. Barry went into a lot of detail. He had some great explanations of what happens in the spreading of influenza. I appreciated his point by point descriptions of what the H and the N refer to--as in H1N1 flu and how we classify different flu strains. I enjoyed hearing about the doctors who were trying to come up with vaccines or cures for the flu. Barry went into their personalities and personal histories fairly extensively. It was all very interesting. I really can't fault him for most of the things he included. I learned a ton. I did find, though, that it was pretty disjointed. He was kind of all over the place. I can understand. It is a huge undertaking with lots of players, but still I was glad to be done with it when it was over. I got annoyed at the way it was written until I started approaching it as random research notes. Barry's writing style didn't do much for me either. Sometimes his sentences were all turned around. Parts of it were brilliant, and parts of it were deadly dull. If you can stand the repetitions and the writing problems, it is a good thing to read. It really gets you thinking about what happened then, the impact it had on the world, and the possibility of it happening again and how prepared we are for it. That part is chilling.

My Rating: *** out of 5

Cleanness Score: 6 out of 10, This is mostly for the horror of what happened when the pandemic was in full force.

6 comments:

Patti said...

If nothing else it sounds like an informative read.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Hmmm. I think I heard about a guy named Edward dying of influenza. Was he in this book? lol. (kidding)

lotusgirl said...

Patti, It was. I'm glad I read it. Past tense. Whew!

KAH, Yeah. It's funny. I thought about him when I was reading.

Pen Pen said...

I really love disaster stories! It's that unexplainable thing where I sit enthralled while the Titanic sinks...I dunno why...

AND- I linked to u on my last post! Go see!! :)

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Very interesting subject. The flu is spreading like wildfire here in upstate SC. The paper reported six hundred confirmed cases at Clemson now and counting.

Great sum up!

Lady Glamis said...

Whoa! That's interesting! I didn't even know he wrote this. Thanks for the info! Not sure I want to read a whole book about the flu, though. *shudders*