Book Corner Highlight: The Great Influenza

News | October 29, 2020

Want some interesting reading during this pandemic? The St. Paul Book Corner has all kinds of wonderful ideas for you – like The Great Influenza by John M. Barry.

When President George W Bush read Barry’s book, he “couldn’t put it down.” He not only saw how the pandemic affected millions of people; he also learned how it reshaped the entire flow of history. Bill Gates, who has committed his foundation to helping distribute an eventual COVID-19 vaccine, finds the book both inspiring and humbling. “Putting an end to [our current pandemic] will require more than just great science,” Gates mused recently. “It will also take a lot of political will.”

In Barry’s work, you can read about incredibly heroic doctors and nurses, the greed and fear of the “other” that resulted from the panic, the ways in which the 1918 Spanish Flu contributed to the rise of Hitler, and more. It was an extraordinary moment in American history when leaders both rose to the occasion and failed miserably, and where philanthropy fundamentally transformed American science and medicine.

This book, and more good reading, is available at the bookstore. St. Paul’s nonprofit Book Corner books are priced below retail and without tax.

To order, message the Book Corner at Or stop by during the hours the Book Corner is open.

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