• 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

Fascinating science; disappointing narration.

I ordered this book in spite of other reviewers' warnings about the "mushy" reading by the author, determined to remain objective. The story of the 1918 flu and its relationship to modern flu viruses is fascinating and important, as is the drama of competing scientists' investigations. The mystery is particularly interesting in light of recent dna discoveries about bird flu, now extant and threatening. As others mentioned, I was disappointed in the narrator's apparent lisp and also her tendency to over-dramatize facts and circumstances which are rivoting on their own. Still, I am glad I stuck with the book to the end. Having worked years ago for a scientist in a competitive university department, I appreciate how individual personalities, passions, and foibles can drive scientific efforts. For someone sufficiently interested in the subject, the narration problems can be endured.
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- Joanne

Good Story, mediocre narrator

The story is interesting and the book is well written. But the voice of the narrator is often incomprehensible. Hence, this audiobook is hardly suited for people whose mother-tongue is not English (like me). I had a lot of problems understanding the narrator.
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- Ingo

Book Details

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