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Publisher's Summary

Between the years 1918 and 1920, influenza raged around the globe in the worst pandemic in recorded history, killing at least 50 million people, more than half a million of them Americans. Yet despite the devastation, this catastrophic event seems but a forgotten moment in our nation's past.  

American Pandemic offers a much-needed corrective to the silence surrounding the influenza outbreak. It sheds light on the social and cultural history of Americans during the pandemic, uncovering both the causes of the nation's public amnesia and the depth of the quiet remembering that endured. Focused on the primary players in this drama - patients and their families, friends, and community, public health experts, and health-care professionals - historian Nancy K. Bristow draws on multiple perspectives to highlight the complex interplay between social identity, cultural norms, memory, and the epidemic. 

Bristow has combed a wealth of primary sources, including letters, diaries, oral histories, memoirs, novels, newspapers, magazines, and government documents. She shows that though the pandemic caused massive disruption in the most basic patterns of American life, influenza did not create long-term social or cultural change, serving instead to reinforce the status quo and the differences and disparities that defined American life.

©2012 Oxford University Press, Inc. (P)2020 Tantor

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  • Shawn Petty
  • 16-04-2021

History repeats itself!

Excellent book. The narrotator's voice is a little tough to listen to, but the material is excellent. At times it gets a little bogged down in quotes from people and newspapers etc. But considering this book was written in 2012, I was blown away with how everything that went on during the Spanish flu, is exactly what is going on now. All the masks protests. What to do about schools, public health officials getting to much power, churches being closed. History repeats itself! The only difference is the sheer loss of life and how it affected so many people but no one wanted to talk about it. So essentially it was buried, until now!

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