THE GREAT EPIDEMIC by A. A. Hoehling

THE GREAT EPIDEMIC

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KIRKUS REVIEW

With none of the more portentous overtones of much of the catastrophe coverage, this is a clinical, statistical fever chart of the influenza epidemic of 1918 which took the lives of 500,000 Americans in a matter of few weeks. From its first explosive outbreak, this traces its itinerary from Asia, Europe, to the U.S., from army camps to navy ships and penitentiaries, and to the cities where it was most disastrous- Boston, the focus of infection, Philadelphia, where one casket manufacturer could have sold 5000 in two hours. Its most susceptible victims, pregnant women and strong young men; its symptomology; the quarantines and preventative measures recommended (in Paris, a society doctor recommended a night cap; here there were masks along with high fines for expectoration); its more famous casualties; its saints- and charlatans and profiteers; and finally its cessation, as inexplicable as its cause.... Hoehling's reconstructed record of the disastrous epidemic had all the ""wantonness of a forest fire"" is direct and dramatic and it here loses none of its virulent irpetus.

Pub Date: March 9th, 1961
Publisher: Little, Brown