Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Book: Pandemic 1918 (November 2018)

By Catharine Arnold

December 5, 2018

In the dying months of the First World War, Spanish Flu suddenly overwhelmed the globe, killing up to 100 million people.  It was one of the most devastating natural disasters in world history.

But behind the staggering figures are human lives, stories of those who suffered and those who fought back – at the Front, at home, in the hospitals and laboratories.  Digging into archives, unpublished records, memoirs, diaries and government documents, Catharine Arnold traces the course of the disease through the accounts of those who experienced it.  Some are well known to us, like British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, US President Woodrow Wilson, and writers Katherine Anne Porter and Vera Brittain, but many more are not.  They are the American doughboys, British nurses, South African miners, Chinese labourers, and many others who have no memorial.

Published 100 years after the disease burned its way across the globe, Pandemic 1918 also looks towards our future and what we still need to learn if we’re to stop it from happening again.

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