The 1918 Flu Pandemic: Background information when reading The Pull of the Stars

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The Pull of the Stars

by Emma Donoghue

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue X
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2020, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 6, 2021, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Callum McLaughlin
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The 1918 Flu Pandemic

This article relates to The Pull of the Stars

Black and white photo of Camp Funston during Spanish flu featuring room full of patients on cotsOften referred to as the Spanish Flu, the 1918 flu pandemic is one of the deadliest viral outbreaks the world has ever seen. Hitting its peak at the tail-end of World War I, record-keeping was poor by modern standards, but it is estimated that some 500 million people (about a quarter of the world's population at the time) became infected across its three waves, with around 50 million of them succumbing to the illness.

Though its common moniker suggests the outbreak originated in Spain, this is in fact untrue. With much of Europe embroiled in the ongoing conflict of WWI, many countries were subject to strict news censoring and media blackouts by the time the virus emerged. Not wishing to further damage morale among citizens already living in fear, or to show perceived weakness in front of their enemies, most countries chose to suppress news of the virus. Spain, being neutral, was free to report openly, and with many people thus hearing of the pandemic from Spanish sources, the name "...

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