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Montana Book Discussion Group: The Great Influenza

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The strongest weapon against pandemic is the truth. Read why in the definitive account of the 1918 Flu Epidemic.

Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research, The Great Influenza provides us with a precise and sobering model as we confront the current pandemic. As Barry concludes, 'The final lesson of 1918, a simple one yet one most difficult to execute, is that...those in authority must retain the public's trust. The way to do that is to distort nothing, to put the best face on nothing, to try to manipulate no one. Lincoln said that first, and best. A leader must make whatever horror exists concrete. Only then will people be able to break it apart.'

John M. Barry is the author of four previous books: Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed Amer­ica; Power Plays: Politics, Football, and Other Blood Sports; The Transformed Cell: Unlocking the Mysteries of Cancer (cowritten with Steven Rosenberg); and The Ambition and the Power: A True Story of Washington. He lives in New Orleans and Wash­ington, D.C.

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