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6+ Works 694 Members 35 Reviews 1 Favorited

Works by Laura Spinney

Associated Works

New Scientist, 3 February 2007 (2007) — Contributor — 1 copy

Tagged

Common Knowledge

Birthdate
1971-08
Gender
female
Nationality
UK
Places of residence
Paris, France
London, England, UK
Education
Durham University
Occupations
writer
science journalist

Members

Reviews

I read a lot of flu books and appreciated the different approach of this one. There are others that are better if you want a deep look at the science or a straight history.This one excels in showing first person accounts from lots of different perspectives. How the flu effected people in different coutries and different societal positions is explored. then the effect of the flu on history, art, music etc is also looked at. Very enjoyable
 
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cspiwak | 33 other reviews | Mar 6, 2024 |
While full of information and a decent read, this book also struggled with being thinly sourced and reading - at times - more like a college paper than a full-fledged book.

Also of note - this book has base information about the flu, and historical information to support the author's narrative. It is NOT meant as an all-encompassing history of the Spanish flu.

Recommended for those who would like to begin learning about the Spanish flu and/or the public health perspective re: pandemics / epidemics.… (more)
 
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alrajul | 33 other reviews | Jun 1, 2023 |
I did learn some interesting things from this book, but ultimately it wasn't what I was looking for regarding a social history of the Spanish flu.
The author fairly warned her audience at the beginning that she was going to circle around and around the topic instead of telling about it in a linear format. Unfortunately, that made the book feel fragmented and superficial. I wanted a thought-provoking social history about how governments and individuals responded the the threat of the flu, the restrictions that impacted their daily lives, and the way they thought about it afterwards. I wanted an answer to the question, "How could an event that took MORE lives than possibly both world wars combined have become a footnote in history?" I didn't get those things. Instead, I got quite a bit of scattered political context, unrelated asides, and LOTS of speculation. There was a little bit of good commentary, which I've included in my Kindle highlights. But I may keep on looking for a different type of book.

My impetus for reading a book like this was having lived through nearly a year of a pandemic and realizing that the pandemic of 100 years ago must have been considerably more life-changing than I ever realized. I wanted to delve into that.

That disappointment aside, I did get a slightly better grasp on the facts of the flu itself. And now I know why it's called the "Spanish" flu... even though it possibly started in Kansas and had nothing to do with Spain other than infecting people there like it did everywhere. Crazy.
… (more)
 
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Alishadt | 33 other reviews | Feb 25, 2023 |
Good history of the huge Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-20. (Of course, not from Spain.) People then didn’t know much about viral outbreaks, esp since the term “virus” was just a vague theoretical concept. But having learned much more than I ever wanted to know about viral epidemics in the last 3 years, it was amazing to read this book, published 5 years ago, and to realize how we could have been so much better prepared for COVID if only…

Very readable, but sometimes wandered a bit from the topic to explore little tidbits of history that didn’t have much to do with the flu.… (more)
 
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steve02476 | 33 other reviews | Jan 3, 2023 |

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