• by Gina Kolata
  • Narrated by Gina Kolata
  • 6 hrs and 30 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Feeling feverish, tired, or achy? Listening to Gina Kolata's engrossing account of the 1918 Influenza epidemic is sure to give you the chills.When we think of plagues, we think of AIDS, Ebola, anthrax spores, and, of course, the Black Death. Influenza never makes the list. But in 1918 the Great Flu Epidemic felled the young and healthy virtually overnight. An estimated forty million people died as the pandemic raged. More American soldiers were killed by the 1918 flu than were killed in battle during World War I. And no area of the globe was safe. Eskimos living in remote outposts in the frozen tundra succumbed to the flu in such numbers that entire villages were wiped out. If such a plague returned today, taking a comparable percentage of the U.S. population with it, 1.5 million Americans would die, which is more than the number killed in a single year by heart disease, cancers, strokes, chronic pulmonary disease, AIDS, and Alzheimer's combined.Scientists have recently discovered shards of the flu virus in human remains frozen in the Arctic tundra and in scraps of tissue preserved in a government warehouse. In Flu, Gina Kolata, an acclaimed reporter for The New York Times, unravels the mystery of the lethal virus with the high drama of a great adventure story. From Alaska to Norway, from the streets of Hong Kong to the corridors of the White House, Kolata tracks the race to recover the live pathogen and probes the fear that has impelled government policy. A gripping work of science writing, Flu addresses the prospects for a great epidemic recurring, and considers what can be done to prevent it.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Ms. Kolata has too few facts and too many superlatives. Her writing style is labored, sprawling and cliched. Worse, her voice is not suitable for narration as she has a strong accent and slurs her words. I am very interested in this issue, but this book is intolerable.
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- Marilyn

Pulled me in

Gina Kolata has an eye for detail, and a flair for the dramatic. From the opening sentence, this book pulled me in and had me waiting for more. I talked about it with friends, even before knowing what discoveries await. This book tells the story of the spread of the virus, the devastation it brought with it, and its removal from our collective conciousness. Perhaps we were too scared by the thought of its recurrence, or perhaps the reality of AIDS or the hype of Ebola and anthrax replaced it in our memories. Fortunately, 8 decades later, some researchers have started to look into it again with some success.

If there is anything disappointing about the book, it is how the Flu of 1918 continues to defy researchers. The book read like a detective story, and I expected it to wrap up nicely with a smoking gun and conviction. Alas reality defies fiction, but this book should be on your Wish List anyway.
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- G Tucker "IT Service Manager"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-13-2001
  • Publisher: Random House Audio