Top critical review
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Impressive, USA orientated, very detailed
on 9 January 2008
This is an impressive piece of scholarship, but I have to admit skimming many of the pages as I found the book over-burdened with detail. The book would, I think, interest US readers more than others as the story is largely told from that country's perspective and all the main medical/scientific players worked in the USA. Many chapters are devoted to the biographies of these workers, preceded by the history of medicine from Aristotle culminating in the blossoming of medical training in the USA. I felt I had to plough through hundreds of pages of background material before the "Epic" started. There is a tremendous amount of information in the book, not just historical/biographical, but also very detailed descriptions of the evolution, replication and categorization of viruses; and how vaccines were finally produced.
If I appear critical of the book, that is not my intention, I'm just warning people who might want to know about the 1918 flu epidemic unburdened by so much background material.