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

During the height of the pandemic lockdowns and closures last year, I decided to read about pandemics throughout history.  The 1918 Pandemic was definitely one with significant parallels to the ongoing COVID pandemic.  Below is my review of The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry:

A fantastic and timely read, The Great Influenza shows – much like The Great Mortality did with the Black Plague – that when it comes to crises that affect millions that politicians, the media, and human beings pretty much have acted the same way for centuries. 

While we may be more technologically advanced than in 1918, humans still act and react to pandemics in much the same way, especially if conflicting information is being given from the political higher-ups and the media they rely on for information. 

The book gives us an in-depth look at the evolution of medicine in post-Civil War America, and also introduces us to the key medical players that tried their best to come up with a vaccine for a form of influenza that killed millions all over the world. 

If you enjoy history, and are looking for some perspective on what’s going on in the world at this moment in time with COVID-19, I highly, highly recommend The Great Influenza.

Have you read any books about past pandemics or epidemics?  Leave a comment with the title!

Book Review Tuesday: The Great Mortality by John Kelly

Last year, as COVID-19 swept around the world causing lockdowns, quarantines, and closures, I was intrigued by pandemics and epidemics of the past.  This led me to looking for a book about the Black Plague aka The Black Death, which swept through Europe in the 14th century.

Below is my review of The Great Mortality by John Kelly:

A compelling read about what was the worst pandemic in recorded human history, I felt that The Great Mortality put our current situation into a greater perspective; one that makes me appreciate the advancements in sanitation and medicine that have happened since 1347. 

What I found most fascinating is that despite humanity’s technological advancements, people responded to the Black Death in parallel ways that people are responding to COVID-19. From protests and scapegoats; to those who felt they wouldn’t be affected; to those who were scared out of their minds, it’s pretty amazing to consider that human behavior hasn’t evolved one bit, even if we think we are more evolved in 2020. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an insightful read about the Black Plague and its many aspects.

Have you read The Great Mortality or another book about the Black Plague?  What are your thoughts?

Back next week with another book review!