For the past 3 years or so, I’ve been working on a book called Pandemic! (The exclamation point is part of the title.) It’s YA historical fiction about the influenza pandemic of 1918. To be more specific, it’s about a teenaged girl, orphaned during the pandemic, who struggles to re-build her life in the face of financial ruin and a sexually abusive uncle.
Because this lethal form of influenza (commonly called Spanish flu) struck during the Great War (WWI), it’s been, until recently, largely forgotten. At last, due to historians like John Barry and Alfred Crosby, it’s receiving more attention. Also, with diseases such as SARS and Avian flu now posing a threat, there’s a renewed scientific interest. What lessons can be learned from studying this worldwide outbreak of flu from 1918? What knowledge might be gained that could help in stemming future epidemic/pandemics?
Here are two important books about the pandemic:
- The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History, by John Barry. Viking Penguin, 2004.
- America’s Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918, by Alfred W. Crosby. 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press, 2003.
I’ll be sharing more facts about the pandemic of 1918 in future posts. And also, more about my book.