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Triumph Amid Tragedy Essay

1513 words - 6 pages

4The Great Influenza5The Great InfluenzaAn Unimaginable Story of Triumph Amid TragedyAmanda PayneThe Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History. By John M. Barry, New York, NY. 2005. ISBN0-14-303649-1. 560 pp. Paperback, $16.In the novel The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, author John M. Barry breaks down history's most lethal influenza virus that struck in early 1918. In chronological order with a few flashbacks, Barry discusses all aspects of the influenza virus in a medical, political, socio-historical context. Even though this epidemic occurred in the early 20th century, it is relevant today because it identifies one of the first collisions between science and nature. This 'collision' has never stopped and will never stop. He gives emphasis to this relevance at the end of the novel when he compares the influenza virus to a more recent virus outbreak: H1N1. The importance of this novel is evident as it clearly demonstrates that humans are not invincible and that nature cannot always be controlled. It shows how just influenza was able to spread worldwide and result in more deaths in one year than the Black Plague did in an entire century.This novel is of the historical genre written in 2005 by an author who has produced other similar novels about natural disasters and their impact such as The Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America. John M. Barry is a best-selling author who has received multiple awards. Due to the nature of his writing, he has been embraced by many experts and is involved in various areas of public policy. Two different presidential administrations have used him as a source of advice for preparation and response to influenza. What's interesting about this author is that prior to becoming a writer he was a football coach. He gave up that position to follow his dream and has since been a keynote speaker at various conventions, appeared in many scientific journals, and a contributor to award-winning documentaries.The main purpose of this book is to inform. This book touches on a multitude of aspects that come together to give a very in depth overview of the epidemic from its beginnings. In doing so, it brings to light various problems that occurred along the way. For example, the epidemic was breaking out at the height of World War I and President Woodrow Wilson did not want moral to be down. Therefore, media was controlled and the true dangers of the epidemic were hidden from the public eye. The government did not want any cause for panic during a time of war and this led to a lack of actions, which resulted in a greater number of deaths. He brings to light the problems that occurred so that hopefully they can be avoided if a future epidemic strikes. However, Barry does not only focus on the bad. He emphasizes things done that were important in slowing the spread of the influenza and the valiant efforts of doctors and scientists who devoted...

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