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EpidemicsHate and Compassion from the Plague of Athens to AIDS$
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Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198819660

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198819660.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 December 2020

The Great Influenza

The Great Influenza

A Forgotten Pandemic?

(p.408) 19 The Great Influenza

Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.

Oxford University Press

By October 1918, influenza had passed from a joking matter about the usual coughs and sniffles to a disease suddenly perceived as new, mysterious, and deadly. This chapter reviews the recent historiography of the Great Influenza from the 1970s to later studies that attempt to wedge this pandemic into a post-AIDS schema, claiming that it too ignited blame and the scapegoating of diseased victims and ‘others’. The chapter questions this portrayal along with the notion that it was a ‘Forgotten Pandemic’, especially in America. It also anticipates a theme developed in subsequent chapters that this pandemic sparked a charitable reaction of a magnitude never before witnessed in the history of medicine and disease. Moreover, at least in the US, the scale of this charitable response was new, and principally came from women and their organizational initiatives.

Keywords:   influenza, pandemic, William Henry Welch, mysterious diseases, historiography, United States, Alfred Crosby, Richard Collier, charity, women

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