What is the legacy of the greatest pandemic to hit the globe in the past two centuries, carrying away 3% of the entire human race? What has been its after-life through the past century?What health and psychological impacts did it leave behind? What are the enduring questions and mysteries that science and history must unravel? And how has our art, literature, and popular culture remembered — or more often, forgotten — this great disaster?In this first installment on the great Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-20, we consider the staggering scope and deep reach of the viral disease that swept the world three times, infecting one third of humankind and killing more people than the World War that nonetheless overshadowed it in the public mind. The second installment will consider the lingering impacts of the pandemic, its enduring mysteries, and the possible reasons it has been forgotten. Find the new Lyceum platform and app — http://www.lyceum.fm/ Suggested Further reading: Laura Spinney, “Pale Rider”; Alfred Crosby, “America’s Forgotten Pandemic.”image: angel monument, Hendersonville, N.C., which formerly belonged to the Wolfe family of Asheville, N.C., and inspired the title of the novel, “Look Homeward, Angel”
Also see The Spanish Flu, pt. 1 — A World in Ashes, 1918-1920
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Things You Don’t Know
Did Columbus really think that he was going to reach Asia?
What little do we actually know about Shakespeare, the person?
Why is it misleading to apply the word “religion” to Judaism and Hinduism?
How did Tisquantum (popularly known as Squanto) already know how to speak English before the Pilgrims had ever arrived?
Ever heard that Florida has no history? Dr. Sam wants you to know how incorrect that common perception actually is…
How did so much of the Epic of Gilgamesh remain hidden and forgotten – but preserved – for over 2,000 years until being rediscovered in modern times?
What did Netflix’s “The Dig” miss about the most dramatic part of the whole Sutton Hoo discovery?
What does the English Civil War of the 1640s tell us about the American Civil War, and about the present?
What can we know about enslaved Africans who were held in a specific New England house, even without written records?
Who were the Freemasons of the 1700s? How did they grow from a local Scottish fraternity to a global network?
How can one mid-sized U.S. city – Tulsa, Oklahoma – serve as a microcosm of so much of the triumphalism and tragedy of American history?
Why can no one agree on what “capitalism” actually is? And why does a lack of clear definition call into question so many other myths of the modern world?
How – and why – did universities begin in the Middle Ages, long before the scientific revolution and the “Enlightenment”?
Was there really an Exodus from Egypt like the one described in the Bible?
How did accusing people of witchcraft further several political agendas of the time?
Why did every Renaissance-era ruler in Europe have a court astrologer?
Does a single coin prove that Vikings came all the way to what’s now the United States?
Why is the dramatic 2019 fire at Paris’ Notre Dame actually a common occurrence for cathedrals around Europe?
Why don’t US citizens directly elect their President? Or have a more proportional Senate?
Are people really becoming less religious than they used to be?
What did followers of the ancient and secretive branch of Christianity, Gnosticism, actually believe?
How did changes in the climate in the 1600s lead people to think they were living in the Apocalypse? How did this help spur the creation of institutions and forces that still shape the world today?
Could all of British history have turned out differently if the winds on the English channel had shifted direction on just one day in 1066?