America's Forgotten Pandemic

America's Forgotten Pandemic

The Influenza of 1918

Book - 2003
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Between August 1918 and March 1919 the Spanish influenza spread worldwide, claiming over 25 million lives - more people than perished in the fighting of the First World War. It proved fatal to at least a half-million Americans. Yet, the Spanish flu pandemic is largely forgotten today. In this vivid narrative, Alfred W. Crosby recounts the course of the pandemic during the panic-stricken months of 1918 and 1919, measures its impact on American society, and probes the curious loss of national memory of this cataclysmic event. This 2003 edition includes a preface discussing the then recent outbreaks of diseases, including the Asian flu and the SARS epidemic.
Publisher: Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, c2003
Edition: 2nd ed
ISBN: 9780521541756
Characteristics: xiv, 337 p. : ill. ; 23 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

JCLJoyceM Jan 08, 2018

Truly terrifying. The influenza pandemic of 1918 killed more people than the bubonic plague. When you read of the great numbers of people dying, including whole families, and shortages of coffins, it’s nearly unbelievable.

Oct 02, 2015

If you wish to understand the Big Picture, the macro situation, all the variables, please read a complementary book to this to expand your awareness:
Morbid Symptoms: health under capitalism, from the Socialist Register.

Oct 02, 2015

Tiny print:(

nftaussig Feb 19, 2012

Alfred W. Crosby, an emeritus professor of American Studies, History, and Geography at the University of Texas, Austin, describes how the 1918 influenza pandemic affected the United States. Rather than attempting to give a comprehensive account, Crosby gives an overview of the pandemic while focusing the reader's attention on particularly well-documented episodes. He describes the horrific effects of the disease in Philadelphia and San Francisco, on naval ships, and on military bases. He also describes the staggering death toll and the distinguishing characteristics of the 1918 pandemic strain of influenza. Crosby uses data tables and graphs that compare the tolls of the pre-pandemic 1917 influenza strain and the 1918 pandemic influenza strain. The numerate reader will find such data illuminating, particularly the comparison of the age of death for those who died of influenza in 1917 and 1918. Also of interest is Crosby's depiction of how the 1919 peace negotiations in Paris were affected by the third outbreak of the disease there. In discussing how the pandemic affected Samoa and Alaska, Crosby illuminates the effectiveness of public health measures such as quarantines and nursing care in controlling the spread of the disease. Crosby's concluding chapter addresses the lack of attention paid to a pandemic that killed 675,000 Americans in American history books and literature (with the notable exception of Katherine Anne Porter's Pale Horse, Pale Rider). To some extent, this book corrected that historical amnesia. Influenza researchers such as Jeffrey Taubenberger of the Centers for Disease Control have cited this book as their inspiration to do research in the field.


Add Age Suitability

nftaussig Dec 08, 2011

nftaussig thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MARINet

To Top