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.
Also see The Spanish Flu, pt. 1 — A World in Ashes, 1918-1920
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”
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