read: 26 February 2003
As you probably know by now, I like to read about diseases. Or, more to the point, the people that study diseases and how they spread and how they are cured. This book, like many of Rouche’s, is a study in medical detection. It is an after-the-fact investigation into the great Influenza Pandemic of 1918, what caused it and hopefully how to avoid other similar pendemics in the future. Kolata is an interesting writer and has really done her homework. Not only does she jam many of the facts of this case into an interesting narrative, but she manages to put personal touches on many of the stories of people involved in the flu, either as victims or researchers. She also includes some very interesting tales of digging up corpses in frozen parts of the world to see if live flu cultures can be extracted and studied. Kolota ties in many of the other great pandemics [plague, cholera, swine flu] and explains what all the fuss is about vaccinations. I felt smarter after I read this book.
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