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First Edition   ©2013

The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919

Susan K. Kent (University of Colorado at Boulder)

  • ISBN-10: 0-312-67708-1
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-312-67708-4
  • Paper Text , 144 pages

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The influenza pandemic of 1918-19 appeared suddenly at the end of the First World War and with explosive impact took the lives of at least 30 million people worldwide. Spreading rapidly across the globe, it defied all previous understandings of the disease, striking the youngest and healthiest individuals most acutely and confounding the doctors and governments who struggled to contain it. In this volume, Susan Kingsley Kent presents an overview of the disease, detailing its symptoms, tracking its spread, and offering insights into the medical community's understanding of and reaction to the pandemic. Documents from period newspapers, medical journals, and government publications, as well as letters, journal entries, memoirs, and novels written by survivors and medical staff, provide a variety of perspectives from six continents and illuminate the impact of the pandemic — from the lives of children orphaned by the flu to colonial rebellions for which the pandemic served as a major catalyst. Document headnotes, maps and illustrations, a chronology, questions for consideration, a selected bibliography, and an index enrich students' understanding.
"A fascinating collection of sources on the influenza pandemic that sheds light on how the disease shaped the history of the twentieth century in the aftermath of World War I."

— Ana Varela-Lago, Northern Arizona University