Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 General Question- Will Be Ordering this Book as Well

Discussion in 'Survival Reading Room' started by ED GEiN, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. ED GEiN

    ED GEiN Monkey++

    As far as I know there strangely has never been a movie or TV miniseries on the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 and it was never a topic in any of my History Classes in High School. Does anyone have any general ideas how the US dealt with this? IE, I think American Sports Events, Businesses, Shopping, etc., went on business as usual. Maybe that's wrong but I've never really heard anything about this. I'm just ordering a book called
    "The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History" that hopefully may fill in the blanks for me but I don't know if it's a dry technical read or not. Of all the disaster situations, for me, a deadly pandemic seems the most possible which freaks me out.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Wikipedia is your friend on that...
  3. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey++

    On an interesting note, about 35 years ago I was taken to a small town near Madison, GA., where all the residents had died of influenza in 1918, and the place was a ghost town with all the falling down houses. No locals wanted to live there so the place just has slowly rotted away. Eerie...
  4. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    There might not be a 'big name' book sellers working a story on the flu - but...



    there are a ton of "Regional History" books that have heartbreaking stories of nearly entire families wiped out by the killer flu.,204,203,200_.jpg (Govt report)

    The 1918 influenza pandemic in New York City: age-specific timing, mortality, and transmission dynamics (Govt report)

    New York, New York and the 1918-1919 Influenza Epidemic | The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918: A Digital Encyclopedia (from newspapers of the time)

    1918 Flu Pandemic - Facts & Summary - (TV documentary)

    The Devastation of 1918 w/videos

    and the web has a lot of data as well.

    My Grandfather dodged the US Concentration camps of WWI for Germans, racist ass-hats in the Army, having his ship torpedoed (German sub), being shot by by some of this own First Cousins (Germans, eh?) and the Flu while in France, made it back home and managed to finally (sorta) bring me into the world..... Some days I feel as lucky as Grandpa. Almost..
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
  5. ED GEiN

    ED GEiN Monkey++

    Wow that is mindblowing. You remember the name by any chance. I want to look that place up online
  6. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    I think many families have similar....'but for some (in some cases lots of incredibly) good luck I wouldn't be here' stories. But for grandparents who survived the 1918 Flu pandemic, a grandfather who survived WWI, and a father who survived WWII, and the bombing of Dresden (he was very lucky not to have been one of the 25,000 civilians who died in that raid), and an escape from the Soviet Eastern Zone of occupied Germany. (Coming from one of the Baltic states, being repatriated to the Soviet Union would have almost guaranteed death).
    Motomom34 likes this.
  7. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu RIP 4/19/2018

    That's very true! When I was younger I liked to stop at Pioneer Cemeteries and read the tombstones. Often there would be large extended family's wiped out! Maybe a little worse in some ways, were a number of bodies with a single stone! It always seemed to me that people were dying faster than they're body's could be dealt with.
    chelloveck likes this.
  8. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    A lot of interesting aspects to that story. I read about 30 years or so ago that researchers had blood tested survivors of the pandemic, (they must've been quite old, even then) to find that they still carried the antibodies to that strain.

    Also saw a documentary some years back - (get kind of addicted to watching those, on just about any subject) - on the pandemic. It stated that the disease had affected a number of recent Italian immigrants.

    Still being somewhat superstitious in those days, they believed that those who fell ill due to this disease had come under some sort of shadowy and mysterious influence, the Italian word for influence being "Influenza".
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  9. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    In 1918 a large number of people getting sick and some dying was just the way of life then.
  10. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Had a great grand father that was a painter plaster etc who survived the Spanish flu but had so much lung damage that he was an invalid the rest of his life. Had a severe impact on the family and my grand father. Read of some remote small towns that basically self quarantined that were able to escape the worst effects Most of the books etc tell of several different waves of the flu and it changed as time went on..
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  11. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey++

    Don't remember the name of the town, but it is inside of a triangle formed by the Oconee River, Madison, and Buckhead. I had 2 older people take me to it, as I was always metal detecting in Buckhead when we visited some of my wife's relatives that lived there. The 2 seniors used to pick cotton during the Depression in the fields adjacent to the ghost town. We didn't stay long, maybe a half hour, as they said the place was haunted, and they wouldn't even get out of the car as I rambled around the old houses. I intended to go back, but haven't made it yet.
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  12. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    The global mortality rate from the 1918/1919 pandemic is not known, but an estimated 10% to 20% of those who were infected died. With about a third of the world population infected, this case-fatality ratio means 3% to 6% of the entire global population died. Other source cite: It (1918 flu pandemic) has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history. More people died of influenza in a single year than in four-years of the Black Death. (Might just be better record keeping in a more modern time + a larger population now in cities)


    In Philadelphia the number of dead quickly overwhelmed the city's ability to handle bodies. It was forced to bury people, without coffins, in mass graves. A few more than 'some' died.

    Also -

    Years ago the environmental historian Alfred Crosby was at Washington State University, where he was teaching at the time, when on a whim he decided to pick up an old almanac from 1917. (This is apparently the kind of thing historians like to do in their spare time.) He looked up the U.S. life expectancy in that year—it was about 51 years. He turned to the 1919 almanac, and found about the same figure. Then Crosby picked up the almanac from 1918. The U.S. life expectancy in 1918 had fallen to 39 years. "What the hell happened?" Crosby told the New York Times writer Gina Kolata in her book Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918. " The life expectancy had dropped to what it had been fifty years before."

    What happened was the 1918 influenza pandemic. A virus that usually does little more than make people feel awful for a few days killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, if not far more, with 650,000 people dying in the U.S. alone. The flu killed more people in a year than the bubonic plague killed in a century in the Middle Ages. Worst of all, this flu disproportionately took the lives of men and women in their 20s and 30s, while often sparing the very old and the very young—two population groups that are especially vulnerable to the flu in most years.
    This has confounded scientists for almost a century, but a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) puts forward a fresh answer to one of the enduring mysteries of medical science. Researchers led by Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona reconstructed the origins of the 1918 pandemic, concluding that the pathogen arose when an existing human H1 flu virus acquired genetic material from a bird flu virus. That new H1N1 flu virus was able to evade immune systems, which helps explain why it infected more than a quarter of the U.S. population at the time. But it was young adults between the ages of 20 and 40 that died in the greatest number—and Worobey's study suggests that the unusual death pattern was due as much to flus of the past as it was to the flu of 1918. "Prior immunity, or lack of it, seems to be the decisive factor," says Worobey.
    (Why the 1918 Flu Pandemic Slaughtered the Young) for more information.
  13. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    I have to say, I dug into the Spanish flu as I used the pandemic as a plot point in my book A Man Out of Place.

    In this alternative-history novel, the Japanese had invaded China in 1931, just as current history shows. As operations in Manchuria were coming to an end in 1932, the occupying forces were struck with a Flu. In this case, the flu was even more virulent and deadly than the 1918 flu. It quickly burned through the military in China and soon hit the Japanese islands.

    The death toll was so high in Japan that the Emperor decided the disease was Divine retribution and ordered all troops back home. Before the flu burned out in 1938, it had crippled the entire island chain.

    In the book, it was hinted that the flu was no act of nature, but in reality, was a form of bio-warfare attack designed to end 'the Asian threat'. By then, the Wehrmacht had fully occupied Mexico.....

    The scary thing is that another flu pandemic (or other disease, airborne spread Ebola?) could/might happen again - with the same tragic results.

    Movies have explored this meme - 12 Monkeys (1995 release) or Hot Zone (also 1995) comes to mind. One posits a manufactures disease, the other an out of control virus from Africa....

    The book The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus
    is a scary as hell story on how complacent and lazy bureaucrats could have nearly ended the human race . Hollywood was clearly inspired to ride on the wave created by this book
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
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  14. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    One these?
    This Haunting Road Trip Through Georgia Ghost Towns Is One You Won't Forget
    specifically Apalachee, Georgia? It was killed by the boll weevil, not the flu - but it is just North of Madison.
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  15. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey++

    Been to Apalachee and Scull Shoals, and it wasn't either of those. Scull Shoals was burned by Union troops during the March to the Sea by General Sherman and never rebuilt. I used to visit there before it became a park, damned spooky place & lots of big snakes.
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  16. ED GEiN

    ED GEiN Monkey++

    Do you remember the name of that Documentary by any chance?
  17. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Given that the centenary of the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic is barely a year away, I shouldn't be surprised if there are a slew of books, web articles and documentaries that will be released next year.

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  18. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Unfortunately I don't. It's probably been 15 or 20 years since last seeing it. Chell is probably correct on the idea that next year there will be quite a bit of information released. I'm sure it will include lots of new findings as well.

    They stated in the documentary that it's highly likely that it could happen again, given just the right genetic makeup or mutation of the virus.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
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  19. ED GEiN

    ED GEiN Monkey++

    Here's a what is question for you people: If the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic never happened in 1918 but happened instead in 2017 would the US & Worldwide fatality figures be the same or greater than in 1918 or would they be less or minimal with all scientific advances in the past 100 years?
  20. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Hard to say....but only of academic interest. The spread of the 1918 Pandemic was facilitated by the repatriation of combatants and refugees back to their countries of origins. Given the short travel times by air these days, spread would be very quick indeed....globally. Quarantining would need to be very quickly in place to meet the threat.
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