Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 Audiobook, by Albert Marrin Play Audiobook Sample

Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 Audiobook

Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 Audiobook, by Albert Marrin Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Jim Frangione Publisher: Listening Library Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 3.83 hours at 1.5x Speed 2.88 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: January 2018 Format: Unabridged Audiobook ISBN: 9780525526087

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

09:00 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

15 seconds

Average Chapter Length:

07:11 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Other Audiobooks Written by Albert Marrin: > View All...

Publisher Description

From National Book Award finalist Albert Marrin comes a fascinating look at the history and science of the deadly 1918 flu pandemic--and its chilling and timely resemblance to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak. In spring of 1918, World War I was underway, and troops at Fort Riley, Kansas, found themselves felled by influenza. By the summer of 1918, the second wave struck as a highly contagious and lethal epidemic and within weeks exploded into a pandemic, an illness that travels rapidly from one continent to another. It would impact the course of the war, and kill many millions more soldiers than warfare itself. Of all diseases, the 1918 flu was by far the worst that has ever afflicted humankind; not even the Black Death of the Middle Ages comes close in terms of the number of lives it took. No war, no natural disaster, no famine has claimed so many. In the space of eighteen months in 1918-1919, about 500 million people--one-third of the global population at the time--came down with influenza. The exact total of lives lost will never be known, but the best estimate is between 50 and 100 million. In this powerful book, filled with black and white photographs, nonfiction master Albert Marrin examines the history, science, and impact of this great scourge--and the possibility for another worldwide pandemic today. A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year!

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“Narrator Jim Frangione’s emotional tone befits this nonfiction work…Frangione re-creates dramatic pictures of a flu that began in the crowded camps of WWI, swept through the congested trenches, and spread across the world…In addition, Frangione delivers contextual material in an authoritative yet approachable manner. His tone switches easily from impassioned views to information about past plagues, medical advances throughout history, and the science of the virulent mutating virus. The author’s extensive research is apparent. He pulls from first-person accounts, medical records, and newspaper articles and with aplomb weaves them into a narrative that works well as an audiobook.”

— AudioFile 


  • “In six riveting chapters, Marrin examines the virus’ precursors, including past plagues and prior medical breakthroughs, its aftermath, and its festering backdrop—the congested trenches and training camps of WWI…with razor-sharp precision…Impeccably researched, masterfully told…this is nonfiction at its best.”

    — Booklist
  • “Successfully presents these historical episodes in fascinating ways…while also putting the affairs in context with other events during the same era…Appropriate for general reading or for reports and is equally accessible to interested adults.”

    — VOYA
  • ‘A thorough and entertaining telling…Marrin’s exhaustive research leaves no topic untouched.”

    — School Library Journal
  • “Liberally referencing research, partial statistics, diaries, medical records, newspaper articles, art, photographs, poetry, song, and literature, Marrin works to give an accurate depiction of the circumstances and ill-timed incidents that led to the global catastrophe.”

    — Kirkus Reviews
  • “Moving easily through relevant background, from the development of urban centers to contemporary medical practices, he identifies two primary factors: the wretched and overcrowded conditions of WWI battlegrounds, hospitals, and training camps, combined with ignorance of the cause of and best ways to contain influenza.”

    — Publishers Weekly


  • A Booklist Top of the List Pick of New Books

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About Albert Marrin

Albert Marrin is the author of numerous nonfiction books for young readers, including Uprooted, a Sibert Honor Book, and the National Book Award finalist Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy. His many honors include the Washington Post Childrens’ Book Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, the James Madison Book Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the 2008 National Endowment for the Humanities Medal.

About Jim Frangione

Jim Frangione is an actor and audiobook narrator who won AudioFile magazine’s 2011 Best Voice in Mystery and Suspense for his reading of Philip Carter’s The Altar of Bones and Spencer Quinn’s To Fetch a Thief. He has won numerous Earphones Awards and has been was a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His theater credits include the off-Broadway production of Scrambled Eggs and the New York premiere of David Mamet’s plays The Old Neighborhood, Romance, and Oleanna, in which he also performed with the national tour. His film and television appearances include Joy, Transamerica, Spartan, Heist, Brotherhood, The Unit, and Law & Order.