8 best non-fiction books about pandemics

Book Suggestions, History


The coronavirus seems to be repeating the history of the 1918 flu pandemic. Both have killed millions of people. Devastatingly, it has exposed  the vulnerability of human beings. The overwhelming situation of the 1918 flu left doctors, scientists, and leaders speechless and stuck.

However, later on  research helped in discovering the cause. Besides, many writers have attempted to write about this shocking event in history. Nonfiction writers have made some exemplary attempts. From tracing the genome of the virus to the devastating effect on the economy, they have written about numerous aspects of the 1918 flu pandemic. We have made  a list of 8 best non-fiction books about pandemics. In case you are wondering for suggestions then give it a read.

1. Flu: The Story Of The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It by Gina Kolata 

best non-fiction books about pandemics

January 9, 2001

Pages 352

Gina Kolata, profound science writer, takes you back to 1918 in Flu. Unlike other books, Flu is a medical history of the 1918 flu pandemic. It is  a mystery read; discovering the genome of the virus on the streets of Alaska, Norway and Hong Kong. Gina in flu not only  unravels  the cause of the 1918 flu but also highlights its possible recurrence. An intriguing read, unlike academic books, it is full of information and graphic scenes. Besides, it also speaks about the prevention of disastrous flu in future. If you want to read about the 1918 flu pandemic from a science perspective, you will not find a book better than Gina Kolata’s.

2. Pandemic 1918: Eyewitness Accounts from the Greatest Medical Holocaust in Modern History  by Catharine Arnold 

best non-fiction books about pandemicsMay 12, 2020

Pages 384

We all have heard about the 1918 flu pandemic, but have you ever wondered how it affected the lives of people. How lives of people from different   walks of life were transformed by the 1918 flu pandemic. Catherine Arnold gives chilling  details of peoples’ lives stricken by pandemic.  How the 1918 pandemic wiped out a big part of the human population from the earth. From civilians and soldiers to doctors and ordinary men, it blew up everyone’s life. Through eye witnessing encounters of people it lays down the history of the 1918 pandemic; how it started and ended.

3. Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World by Laura Spinney  

best non-fiction books about pandemicsPages 354

Laura Spinney in Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed The World explores the spread of the 1918 flu across the globe. How from endemic it became pandemic, unveiling the ingenuity and vulnerability of humans. The effect of the disastrous 1918 flu on humans’ relations. It explains the  transformation of religion, arts and medicine through the 1918 pandemic. Bringing in recent research, Laura Spinney’s book is highly suggested for beginners.

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best non-fiction books about pandemicsMay 31, 2020

Pages 259

Barry Larson in his book Spanish Flu of 1918 and the Pandemic History traces the beginning of flu virus in 1918. How it started and how it was detected. It also closely examines the spread of flu across the globe. The flu which was a common illness led to chaos and confusion. Further, it explores and appreciates the efforts of front line workers in that devastated situation. Besides, it reminds us of the great loss of people and what we can learn from it. Being easy and informative makes it best for  beginners.

5. The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry

best non-fiction books about pandemicsOctober 4, 2005

546 pages

The Great Influenza is a complete book about the 1918 flu. It explains the history of 1918 flu in full detail, excluding no facts or figures. From how it started to how it ended, and how it can reoccur in the future. John M.Barry explains the effect of influenza in terms of medical history; how it transformed the medical influence. Besides, it also reports the great role of some doctors and hospitals at the critical situation of flu. Its compact style makes it perfect for both  freshers and beginners.

6. The Spanish Flu of 1918: The Greatest Influenza Pandemic In History  by Thomas Anderson  

June 1, 2020

177 pages

Like other books of the 1918 flu nonfiction books, it explores the cause, spread, and cure of the 1918 flu pandemic. It also reports the officials’ responses to the horrific situation of the Spanish flu. In addition, it also delves into the flu viru of the 20th century. It tries to inform the readers about the lessons of 1918 flu which will prevent the return of the flu in future. As a general read about the 1918 flu, it can serve the beginners.

7. The Great Influenza Spanish Flu 1918: Real Story of the Deadliest Pandemic, Its Arrival, Its Effect to the World, and What we learn from it  by Charlotte Angela 

best non-fiction books about pandemicsJune 8, 2020

520 pages

The number of people who died because of the 1918 flu  pandemic is more than the number of people who died because of world war 1. Similarly, pandemics kill people irrespective of their caste, gender and class. It affected politicians, scientists, and the common man. The Great Influenza Spanish Flu 1918 tells the story of 1918 flu  from both the perspective of scientists and political leaders. However, its major focus is on medical conflict of that time.  It is a well researched book with intriguing information.  Anyone who wants to know how medical researchers and scientists coped with the 1918 flu can have a good start with this  book.

8. A Cruel Wind: Pandemic Flu in America 1918-1920 by Dorothy A. Pettit 

best non-fiction books about pandemicsJune 30, 2008

323 pages

A Cruel Wind: Pandemic Flu in America 1918- 1920 by Dorothy A. Pettit, as the name suggests, investigates the horrors of the 1918 flu in america. How it shattered each and every family of america. It also provides an intelligent analysis and history of 1918 flu. Besides, it gives you a comprehensible read of the flu virus; what is flu virus and what are its symptoms. Those who are interested not only in 1918 flu but also how the influenza works should give it a read.

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