In Influenza, [Brown] builds effectively on his clinical and scientific career, making the virus itself central to his story ... Although his story is a somber one, Dr. Brown’s account is punctuated by some humor and much avuncular advice ... he offers engaging descriptions of influenza treatments then and now ... Dr. Brown provides the better overview of the subject [compared with Catharine Arnold's Pandemic 1918, weaving history and contemporary virology and clinical practice together ... [Influenza] reminds us how much the world has changed...that influenza is still a real and present threat and demonstrates the power and limitations of modern medicine.
Brown's book is like an Agatha Christie novel, or a cold-case episode of some television drama. The crime has already been committed—in this case, a century ago—but the villain is still on the loose, still committing crimes, and somehow managing to evade the plods ... Unlike an Agatha Christie mystery, there is no grand reveal at the end. There are a host of smaller reveals along the way, and many still to come. While much of the mystery is still unsolved, Brown finishes by suggesting that while another influenza pandemic is inevitable, and more battles will be fought, the war may be finally turning in our favor.
Jeremy Brown...turns indignant in his new book...at the quackery his field once perpetrated ... Brown tells this story with a welcome scientific crispness ... The Great Influenza ... [historian John M.] Barry’s 2004 book, is better written ... So is Flu by science journalist Gina Kolata ... Brown’s book is superior...[as a] meander through the archives. He depicts the shortfalls of big data in flu tracking, the pitfalls in our annual flu vaccinations and the scandalous medical politics bedeviling Tamiflu and similar treatments.
...Brown ... provides an in-depth look at what scientists now know about the 1918 strain, an H1N1 virus that originated in birds and spent time in an unknown mammalian host before infecting humans ... Brown also provides a fascinating look at the factors that make the more common seasonal flu so challenging to predict and prevent ... Brown delivers a clear and captivating overview ... [and] offer[s] an unsettling picture of the damage influenza inflicted on the world 100 years ago and the misery that this virus might yet bring again.
Writing in a conversational style, Brown...covers the discovery of the 1918 virus in frozen victims, the hunt for vaccines, the collection of data, and American efforts to prepare for future outbreaks ... A solid book of popular science.
...[a] no-nonsense account ... Critical of the pharmaceutical lobby’s role in creating flu scares, and skeptical of the U.S.’s '[flu] vaccination for all' policy, Brown, with his clear message that human intellect is no match for viral ingenuity, adds a grim note to the stockpile of books on influenza.