Synopses & Reviews
No disease the world has ever known even remotely resembles the great influenza epidemic of 1918. Presumed to have begun when sick farm animals infected soldiers in Kansas, spreading and mutating into a lethal strain as troops carried it to Europe, it exploded across the world with unequaled ferocity and speed. It killed more people in twenty weeks than AIDS has killed in twenty years; it killed more people in a year than the plagues of the Middle Ages killed in a century. Victims bled from the ears and nose, turned blue from lack of oxygen, suffered aches that felt like bones being broken, and died. In the United States, where bodies were stacked without coffins on trucks, nearly seven times as many people died of influenza as in the First World War.
In his powerful new book, award-winning historian John M. Barry unfolds a tale that is magisterial in its breadth and in the depth of its research, and spellbinding as he weaves multiple narrative strands together. In this first great collision between science and epidemic disease, even as society approached collapse, a handful of heroic researchers stepped forward, risking their lives to confront this strange disease. Titans like William Welch at the newly formed Johns Hopkins Medical School and colleagues at Rockefeller University and others from around the country revolutionized American science and public health, and their work in this crisis led to crucial discoveries that we are still using and learning from today.
The Washington Post's Jonathan Yardley said Barry's last book can "change the way we think." The Great Influenza may also change the way we see the world.
"[A] sweeping history....Barry captures the sense of panic and despair that overwhelmed stricken communities and hits hard at those who failed to use their power to protect the public good." Publishers Weekly
"[F]ascinating....Barry produces a sharp account of the epidemic's sudden onset....Barry also underlines the dismaying speed with which many survivors forgot the great influenza outbreak almost as soon as it appeared to end." Howard Markel, The Washington Post Book World
"A keen recounting of the 1918-20 pandemic....Majestic, spellbinding treatment of a mass killer." Kirkus Reviews
Gripping... Easily our fullest, richest, most panoramic history of the subject. (The New York Times Book Review) Spellbinding... A compelling and scary read. (The San Diego Union-Tribune) Invaluable... an immensely readable book. (The Seattle Times) A writer of distinction with a deep philosophical underpinning... compelling and brilliant. (Journal of the American Medical Association)
andquot;A gifted author.andquot;
andquot;John Barry's Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul establishes Williams as a brave thinker and also a deft political actor . . .andnbsp; Mr. Barry puts Williams squarely among our great political thinkers, crediting him with bringing liberal democracy to the American colonies.andquot;
andquot;Barry now turns his meticulous hand to the origins of two fundamental and perpetual American fixations: the conflict between church and state and that between the power of the state and the conscience of the citizen. . . . Present-day implications of an elemental clash of ideas may hover over every page, yet the vital drama of Barryandrsquo;s story emblazons two competing visions of American destiny: John Winthropandrsquo;s andldquo;city on a hillandrdquo; vs. Williamsandrsquo;s community of conscience. As Barry shows well and often prophetically, the national soul formed out of that drama remains a troubled, and occasionally tortured, one.andquot;
andquot;To call it a biography sells it short. What it is, really, is the history of an ideaandmdash;about the critical importance of separating church from state. So revolutionary was this idea that it caused Williams to be banished from Massachusetts. . . . Williams created the first place in the Western world where people could believe in any God they wishedandmdash;or no God at allandmdash;without fear of retribution.andquot;
andquot;In Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul, New York Times bestselling author John M. Barry tells the story with passion and an eye for fine detail. . . . If the story were not compelling enough, Barry's dramatic first chapter of conflict, confrontation and banishment into the wilderness is worth the price of admission alone. . . . As Barry notes, the dispute 'opened a fissure in America, a fault line which would rive America all the way to the present.' John Barry deserves our thanks for illuminating this critical and timely chapter of American history.andquot;
andquot;There's a recurring theme among the religiously political/politically religious that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and that in this modern era we have somehow strayed from God and from our roots. John M. Barry's new book Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty is a counterargument and it is a significant reminder of whence, exactly, this little experiment in democracy of ours came . . . Absorbing.andquot;
andquot;This biography should be read with today's headlines in mind . . . Thoroughly researched and accessibly written . . . This is an important book because it brings back an important founding point in the development of the American character. But it also is a timely reminder that the issues that drove Williams into exile in Rhode Island are very much alive and just as perilous today.andquot;
The terrifying story of the first modern "plague," the 1918 influenza epidemic that began in an army camp in Kansas, then exploded across the world. Through this epidemic John Barry depicts America at a watershed moment in its history, to show how the war and the disease were woven together, how politics and public health collide, how almost unstoppable a pandemic can be even in the 21st century. Barry is also the author of Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America.
No disease the world has ever known even remotely resembles the great influenza epidemic of 1918. Presumed to have begun when sick farm animals infected soldiers in Kansas, spreading and mutating into a lethal strain as troops carried it to Europe, it exploded across the world with unequaled ferocity and speed. In his powerful new book, award-winning historian John M. Barry unfolds a tale that is magisterial in its breadth and in the depth of its research, and spellbinding as he weaves multiple narrative strands together.
At the height of WWI, history's most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four months than AIDS killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. But this was not the Middle Ages, and 1918 marked the first collision of science and epidemic disease. Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research and now revised to reflect the growing danger of the avian flu, The Great Influenza is ultimately a tale of triumph amid tragedy, which provides us with a precise and sobering model as we confront the epidemics looming on our own horizon.
In the winter of 1918, at the height of WWI, historys most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four weeks than AIDS has killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. But this was not the Middle Ages, and 1918 marked the first collision of science and epidemic disease. Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research, John M. Barry weaves together multiple narratives, with characters ranging from William Welch (founder of Johns Hopkins Medical School) to John D. Rockefeller and Woodrow Wilson. Ultimately a tale of triumph amid tragedy, this crisis provides a precise and sobering model for our world as we confront AIDS, bioterrorism, and other, as yet unknown, diseases.
A revelatory look at the separation of church and state in Americaandmdash;from the New York Times bestselling author of The Great Influenza
and#160;For four hundred years, Americans have fought over the proper relationships between church and state and between a free individual and the state. This is the story of the first battle in that war of ideas, a battle that led to the writing of the First Amendment and that continues to define the issue of the separation of church and state today. It began with religious persecution and ended in revolution, and along the way it defined the nature of America and of individual liberty. Acclaimed historian John M. Barry explores the development of these fundamental ideas through the story of Roger Williams, who was the first to link religious freedom to individual liberty, and who created in America the first government and society on earth informed by those beliefs. This book is essential to understanding the continuing debate over the role of religion and political power in modern life.
About the Author
John M. Barry
is the author of the New York Times
bestselling The Great Influenza
and the prizewinning history Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America
. He divides his time between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Washington, D.C.
Table of Contents
Part I: THE WARRIORS 9
Part II: THE SWARM 89
Part III: THE TINDERBOX 117
Part IV: IT BEGINS 167
Part V: EXPLOSION 195
Part VI: THE PESTILENCE 229
Part VII: THE RACE 253
Part VIII: THE TOLLING OF THE BELL 297
Part IX: LINGERER 367
Part X: ENDGAME 399