The Good: This book has a lot of interesting historical information about the 1918 flu pandemic, as well as some about H5N1. It is well written, and flows easily.
The Mediocre: There is a lot of historical information regarding the events leading up to the 1918 flu pandemic, especially about World War 1. I really wasn't expecting to read so much about the first World War, though it is useful information to put the 1918 flu pandemic into perspective, and so this was OK, however as the book has 30 pages of bibliography, there really is less talking about the flu, such as what the health authorities were thinking, and more ink spent on historical information. Also, the book seems to be written at the young adult level, so it is not as comprehensive as I would have liked.
The Not-So-Good: Some of the science is wrong, although the author makes a spirited attempt to explain the flu virus and how it replicates in the human body in plain terms. Such as when the author states that chemicals called "cytokines" detect the invading flu virus, when in fact it is the cells of the immune system that do the detecting and then release messenger molecules like cytokines. Unexpectedly, the author segues into bioterrorism at the end of the book, and the question of will another naturally occurring flu pandemic like the 1918 flu happen again is, somewhat predictably, not answered as really nobody can answer that question.
Conclusion: This is not a comprehensive book on the 1918 Flu, or influenza, though the historical details are interesting. I didn't get what I was looking for, (this isn't a scientific or expert perspective), but I got a lot of great historical context and information to help me understand some of what people experienced at the time.
- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: RHUS CHILDREN'S BOOKS (19 March 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1101931469
- ISBN-13: 978-1101931462
- Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 1.9 x 23.5 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 844 g
- Customer Reviews: 13 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)