A veteran emergency room doctor explores the troubling, terrifying, and complex history of the flu virus, from the origins of the 1918 Great Flu that killed millions to vexing questions about whether we are prepared for the next epidemic.
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.