Jaime Breitnauer

Jaime Breitnauer


Jaime Breitnauer - History

Jaime Breitnauer certainly could not have known, when he wrote The Spanish Flu Epidemic & Its Influence on History to mark the 100th anniversary of the calamitous event, that another global pandemic was about the rear its head.

But the book, besides being historically informative, is somewhat prophetic. As he writes in the penultimate chapter:

The book is hard to put down. Breitnauer puts a human face on the Spanish flu by recounting personal stories of the people affected -- not just famous historical figures like Woodrow Wilson and Mohandas Gandhi, but also soldiers, doctors, workers and children, the common folk who suffered its effects even more strongly -- even as he describes the relentless spread of the disease and its devastating impact on the world. It's true that the virus contributed significantly to the end of World War I, but it's startling to realize how it also fostered the conditions that caused World War II.

It's also fascinating to watch the global response to the disease. In many nations, it led directly to more accessible and affordable healthcare -- while, disturbingly, in the United States there was denial and fear, but healthcare remained out of reach (to this day) for its citizens as many leaders refused to impose basic restrictions to curtail the spread of the disease.

This book is valuable as a detailed look back at a terrible time in history, when a virulent flu spread all over the world, infecting a third of its people and killing many -- reports vary, from 50 million to 100 million. Perhaps it's not too late to learn the harsh lessons the Spanish flu can impart.


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A look at the 1918 influenza pandemic from its outbreak to its effects on the global population and its legacy.

On the second Monday of March, 1918, the world changed forever. What seemed like a harmless cold morphed into a global pandemic that would wipe out as many as a hundred-million people—ten times as many as the Great War. German troops faltered, lending the allies the winning advantage, and India turned its sights to independence while South Africa turned to God. In Western Samoa, a quarter of the population died in some parts of Alaska, whole villages were wiped out. Civil unrest sparked by influenza shaped nations and heralded a new era of public health where people were no longer blamed for contracting disease. Using real case histories, we take a journey through the world in 1918, and look at the impact of Spanish flu on populations from America to France and the Arctic, and at the scientific legacy this deadly virus has left behind.

“Breitnauer puts the whole thing into perspective with a fascinating account of the

origin and extent of the outbreak, at a time when people were returning from the conflict expecting a brave new world and instead confronting one of the deadliest epidemics ever to hit mankind.” —Books Monthly (UK)


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Visiting my dead in the family chapel, often my gaze falls on two young, distant relatives, full of life, in their college uniforms, whose life was interrupted in 1919. Those two young, anonymous lives, who could have realizing who knows what in the course of their lives, have been, together with many other millions of human beings, the victims of one of the worst pandemics that history remembers: the Spanish Flu.

The book that I present to you today, the first book written by the historian Jaime Breitnauer, and published by Pen & Sword, makes us take a journey in this event that cut many more lives than the recent Great War. Indeed, if perhaps we know it little, or at least not as much as we should, it is perhaps the fault of that War and its terrible deaths, compared to which death in a bed due to illness (but it was not always so) seems almost a pitiful end.

The narrative that the writer makes of the spread of the flu, which most likely started from China and conveyed by the large number of forced workers who were decisive in the allied war effort in France, is a choral tale, which uses the testimonies of survivors collected over the past decades and thanks to which today we can at least reconstruct the strongly human and emotional aspect of the impact of the disease.

Globalizing event, like those that define our lives today (think of September 11, 2001), even more than the Great War that many countries left out, including Spain, the Influence perhaps improperly called Spanish (because one of the victims, who then recovered, was King Alfonso XIII of Spain) has really hit the whole world, infecting 500 million people and killing 100, 5% of the existing population.

In the book, which is read as if it were one of those disaster movies with zombies and viruses that kill (only that this time the story is sadly true) the story follows the evolution and spread of the virus through various "waves", towards which some countries responded with effective methods (think of Japan) while others found themselves fearfully unprepared or at worst underestimated the threat.

For better or for worse, Spanish influence changed many of the habits of the countries it passed through. First of all, hygiene and health, laying the foundations for the egalitarian health systems that we can enjoy today in most countries, but this pandemic was also the basis for political choices that we still suffer today (think of the death of Sykes, British diplomat author of the Sykes-Picot agreement on the subdivision of the Middle East, which fell dead hit by the disease at just 39 years of age upon his return from the Middle East, where he had elaborated the fallacy of his previous judgment on that subdivision, which instead remained in place).

In short, a book that leads us to know an event that has united the whole world population and which must be taken into account even today, as a warning and to avoid or at least reduce the events of a similar pandemic, always lurking.

A book that pays homage also to dozens of stories of men, women and children, whose lives have been broken and marked by a monster whose exact origin is unknown.

A book that deserves to be read for its powerful emotional charge, especially in a world like ours, even "smaller" (and therefore more open to the dangers of contagion) than that of our 1919 predecessors' .

A heartfelt thanks to Pen & Sword for providing me with the book for the review.

Title: The Spanish Flu Epidemic and its Influence on History

On the Old Barbed Wire

The United States Marine Corps in the Korean War - Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives
by Michael Green

The Korean War, the conflict that bloodied the Asian peninsula from 1950 to 1953 was the first war of the period that went down in history as the Cold War. This historical period following the end of the greatest conflict in history, the Second World War, saw the victorious states (USA, UK, USSR) focus on another type of strategy. The terrible atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki meant that above all the US military apparatus considered conventional armaments useless or redundant. The units that emerged from the Second World War were downsized, many of the surplus vehicles and ships were sold to third countries and so the arrival of the North Korean invasion caught both the weak South Korean army and the Americans themselves unprepared. One of the most valuable corps, decisive in defeating the Japanese Armed Forces was the Marine Corps. And this review focuses on this glorious Corps and its use in this war, with Michael Green's fine book for Pen & Sword's "Images of War" series.
A series that now has hundreds of volumes and is enriched with another essential text for appreciating the war effort of the Korean War, often called a minor war, but whose ferocious fighting was second to a few conflicts in history. Green in his book, chooses many photographs of extreme interest, which define exactly what was the experience of the American soldiers. If you look at the photos with an inattentive eye, you could be deceived that those photos depict Marines in World War II. The use of conventional weapons did not change much from the conflict that ended five years earlier. But in fact, in the second half of the war, the first American and Soviet-made jet fighters supplied to the North Koreans appeared in the sky.
The Korean War was marked by an overwhelming Communist advance that pushed the South Koreans into the Pusan ​​perimeter, then by Operation Chromite with which MacArthur landed in the rear of the North Koreans in Inchon (an operation we talked about here: /oldbarbedwire.blogspot.com/2019/06/inchon-landing-macarthurs-korean-war.html) and the ascent of the peninsula and the invasion of the north beyond the 38th parallel. Here began one of the most brutal phases of the conflict with the entry into the war of Communist China. The epic of the Marines in this phase coincides with the retreat from the Chosin Reservoir, in the middle of winter. The story of this clash between the Marine forces near this stretch of water in the north of the peninsula and the attack of 12 Chinese divisions is part of the myth of the Marine Corps. The ensuing retreat brought American forces back to the south until the front stabilized again near the 38th Parallel in 1953.

The book, like those of the series, combines an excellent narration of the whole war with particular attention to the events of the Marines, with a series of very rare photos that portray the exploits of the Corps.

The format is often very large, with photos taking up an entire page. Weapons and armaments of both American and Communist forces are well documented. At the same time, some photos highlight the terrible tactic of the "human hordes" with which the Chinese and North Koreans attacked, often at night. The result is a book that well documents the Korean War, which is often referred to as a minor war but which claimed 140,000 US forces casualties with 25,000 dead. Undoubtedly, that quote by Walther Matthau comes to mind that in a film ("The Survivors") to the question about which war he had made he replied "The big one, Korea", and to the irony of his interlocutor he counterattacked with "Well , it was big for me! ". A book that I recommend to anyone who wants to know more about this war and the ferocity of its fighting.

A big thank you to Pen & Sword for providing me with the book for review.

Title: The United States Marine Corps in the Korean War - Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

On the Old Barbed Wire

On this day: recommended reading.

On the Old Barbed Wire

Into the Iron Triangle - Operation Attleboro and the Battles North of Saigon, 1966
by Arrigo Velicogna

The Vietnam War, one of the wars that has received the most media coverage in history, still has many topics to investigate. One of these is the false belief that it was a war in a certain way "asymmetrical" or even just a guerrilla beyond the famous offensive of the Tet and the others following (when the US presence had already diminished). In reality, the "large units" of the various Vietnamese fighting organizations had launched large offensives or at least there was the presence of large units since the first fights of the years 1965 and 1966. Famous is the battle of the Ia Drang Valley, immortalized by the book "We Were Soldiers and Young "and the film with Mel Gibson that was based on it.

The book that I am presenting to you today, however, takes us further south than the events that took place in the Ia Drang Valley and deals with the "Operation Attleboro" in which several US and South Vietnamese units were confronted by the 9th PLAF Division (People's Liberation Armed Forces) by Colonel Cam. The author of the book is the historian Arrigo Velicogna and the publishing house is Helion.

The book, part of the "Asia at War" series (n ° 19) is a book of 88 pages, 8 very detailed chapters, which perfectly describes the harbingers of war, the forces in the field (making the necessary distinctions between the various components of the Vietnamese military apparatus) and the events that took place between September 14 and November 25, 1966.
Operation Attleboro, born as a series of offensive probes by the 196th Brigade (commanded by Brigadier General De Saussure), saw fierce clashes with the Vietnamese forces of Colonel Cam. The situation between 3 and 5 November was especially critical when several American units found themselves at risk of being overwhelmed. General de Saussure's tactical setup had failed and therefore a company had found itself isolated. The situation was saved by placing the forces in the field more logically and correcting De Saussure's tactical errors. The US forces later went on the offensive with many more elements, trying to trap the various Vietnamese forces that broke away from the fighting and retreated north towards Cambodia. Operation Attleboro, which began as a series of deployments of small units to counter the Communist presence north of Saigon (Thay Ninh), instead saw the effort of Colonel Cam's North Vietnamese forces to destroy the American and South Vietnamese presence in the area. . This confrontation saw several fighting that lasted for weeks, and which actually destroyed the fighting capacity of the North Vietnamese forces. Much credit goes to US firebases tactics and coordinated aircraft attacks.
The book, in glossy paper, is very tidy and pleasant and although not voluminous it is very detailed in the report of the clashes. There are many photographs (mostly black and white) but the central section with the profiles of the armored vehicles (part of the offensive was carried out by mechanized forces) and of the helicopters and airplanes of Operation Attleboro is of importance. There are also three profiles that illustrate the uniforms of the various fighters, American, North Vietnamese and Mike Forces (Nung ethnic guerrillas who fought alongside the Americans). The book describes a little-known offensive from 1966, and the reader will be able to fully appreciate the conclusions arising from this confrontation. The flexibility and American firepower against the substantial tactical rigidity of the Communist forces. Attleboro was an important operation because it sowed the seeds of other operations that drew the teachings from it and in turn guaranteed its success. The book, extremely pleasant to read even if it is not very long, is highly recommended for historical enthusiasts of the Vietnam War.

A big thank you to Casemate Publishing and Helion for providing me with the book for review.

Title: Into the Iron Triangle - Operation Attleboro and the Battles North of Saigon, 1966


RELATED ARTICLES

Many theatres, dance halls, cinemas closed for months

Leisure venues such as theatres and cinemas are closed as part of the current national lockdown, as they were last year when the first nationwide measures were imposed in response to coronavirus.

When Spanish flu struck, Dr Aida Milne explained on the BBC Radio 4 programme how cinema owners 'protested' at being forced to shut, because they were worried about going out of business.

In an attempt to keep their establishments open, cinema owners agreed to take steps to limit the spread of flu.

Dr Milne said: 'So what they did in many places was they agreed that they would allow a time between showings so that they could fumigate and disinfect.

'And they also barred children from coming into it because they considered children to be super spreaders.'

With no government-imposed lockdown in place, it was up to the authorities in each town and city to decide what precautions to take. Pictured: A man sprays disinfectant, 1918 to 1919

Buses and trains cancelled, mines forced to close and police shortages

Writing in his book The Spanish Flu Epidemic And Its Influence On History, author Jaime Breitnauer explains how daily activities in Britain were severely disrupted by the pandemic.

She said: 'Across the nation, daily activities were drawing to a halt, with bus and train services postponed, post offices and bakeries on limited hours due to staff shortages and undertakers turning down orders as they were already struggling to process the number of dead.'

After four years of the ravages of the First World War, there were already food and fuel shortages.

Nearly everyone was either directly or indirectly affected by the injury, death or disappearance of a soldier in the ongoing conflict.

Buses and train services were cancelled and postponed as a result of the impact of Spanish flu. Pictured: A bus being disinfected in London in 1920

Last year, trains on the London Underground were also regularly disinfected to try to stop the spread of coronavirus

By July 1918, it was reported how some coal mines in Newcastle had as many as 70 per cent of their workers off sick.

This brought production – during a time of great need – 'practically to a standstill', writes Breitnauer.

The author adds that the Prudential insurance company noted during its annual meeting in January 1919 how, between November and the end of December the year before, £650,000 was paid out to cover industrial losses from flu.

In the same period, just £279,000 had been paid for losses from war.

During the second wave, 1,500 police officers in London – a third of the workforce – failed to turn up for work because they were unwell.

A man spraying the top of a bus with an disinfectant during the Spanish flu pandemic, which lasted until 1920

Thousands of children orphaned and general health hammered

Breitnauer also sheds light on how the number of orphans in England, Scotland and Wales 'increased sharply' as a result of Spanish flu.

The crisis ended up spawning three charitable organisations to care for them: the National Child Adoption Association (NCAA) the National Adoption Society (NAS) and the National Council for the Unmarried Mother and her Child (NCUMC).

They were set up specifically to rehome children.

As for general health, the mortality rate for women aged 25 to 30 was 600 times higher in 1918 than in the previous four years.

Pregnant women also had a 50 per cent higher chance of developing lung-related illnesses, such as pneumonia.

The year of 1918 was also the first on record in which the number of deaths outweighed the number of live births, Breitnauer adds.

How bishops said the Government would have to pass legislation forcing churches to close as many refused to shut their doors

Boris Johnson's Government was criticised in some quarters for banning communal worship inside churches, synagogues, mosques and other faith venues during the first national lockdown.

Whilst there was no nationwide shutdown of churches during the Spanish flu crisis, some local authorities tried to force them to close.

However, speaking on the BBC's Radio 4 documentary, Professor Karen Sayer, from Leeds Trinity University said a lot of them defiantly remained open.

She said: 'A lot of churches refused to close. Some quite high-flying bishops said the government would have to pass an act to close the churches.

'[They said] surely it's all right if we just keep them well ventilated anyway. They were kind of defending that space.'

Will Troughton, the curator of photography at the National Library of Wales, said on the BBC's radio documentary about the crisis that people in Wales were asked not to go to church or chapel.

He said: 'Not going to church or chapel would seem anathema to most people. That is how they got their information about the world.'

Public health posters which warned people to 'wear a mask' and to 'wash your hands'

In 2020 and 2021, Britons have been bombarded by official posters and adverts warning them about the risks posed by coronavirus and the need to observe social distancing and wash their hands.

When Spanish flu struck the UK, there were similar adverts. One, dating from Christmas 1918, urged Britons to 'wear a mask' and 'wash your hands'.

It added: 'Avoid touching your face. Maintain a safe distance from others'.

However, the emergence of Spanish flu also gave less scrupulous businessmen the chance to earn money by marketing products which they said would help guard against the infection.

When Spanish flu struck the UK, there were similar messages. Pictured: The above poster was issued during Christmas in 1918

Professor John Watkins said to the BBC: 'The medical profession was almost incapable of providing an answer to the flu and there was a whole plethora of people trying to argue that their unctions and potions are going to be efficacious in every way to give you a cure of the flu.

'People claimed that Bovril… Oxo… would even cure flu.'

On advert claimed: 'A cup full of Oxo two or three times a day will prove an immense service as a protective measure. It's a fact a sure preventative against influenza is coco.'

Another message from a shop spoke of the 'immense value of Bovril'.

The emergence of Spanish flu also gave less scrupulous businessmen the chance to earn money by marketing products which they said would help guard against the infection. Pictured: 'Why catch their influenza?'. An advert for Formamint germ killing throat tablets to ward against the spread of influenza

How people were warned to self-isolate

Although there were no laws about social-distancing, there was still general advice which warned about how Spanish flu was highly contagious.

A report in the Daily Mail in 1918 read: '. the first and obvious measure is to avoid infection as far as possible. If the person could isolate himself on top of a mountain he would certainly escape if he travels daily in crowded trains and omnibuses and mingles with crowds under cover, he will almost surely fall a victim sooner or later.'

It also warned that the virus was present in the 'nose and upper part of the air passages', adding that when a sufferer 'coughs or sneezes' he 'spread infection'.

The report continued: 'The danger of catching the disease in the open is not very great, but crowded streets, like the Strand and Cheapside in London are little better than theatres and churches.'

If concluded by saying that a man who 'walks two or three miles' to work will 'defy the microbe', but if he travelled in a 'stuffy train or omnibus', the virus would 'have the better of him'.

The Spanish Flu Epidemic And Its Influence On History, by Jaime Breitnauer, is published by Pen & Sword .

Although there were no laws about social-distancing, there was still general advice which warned about how Spanish flu was highly contagious. Pictured: A report in the Daily Mail warning of the dangers posed by Spanish flu

A common feature of the coronavirus pandemic on social media has been Britons sharing pictures of their unkempt hair styles after salons were forced to close as part of the nationwide lockdown.

It was announced earlier this year that hair and beauty salons would not be able to reopen until April 12.

In the Spanish flu pandemic, there were no nationwide laws which forced similar establishments to close.

Images show barbers wearing masks as they continue to cut clients' hair.

In the Spanish flu pandemic, there were no nationwide laws which forced hair salons to close. Images show barbers wearing masks as they continue to cut clients' hair

'Isolation Hospitals' were set up to cope with increasing patient numbers as public health took a hammering

As the NHS grappled to cope with the deluge of coronavirus patients last year, temporary 'Nightingale' hospitals were set up, including at the Excel Centre in London.

Although most were barely used due to staffing issues, they were hailed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock as having played a 'critical role' in the pandemic.

During the Spanish flu pandemic, makeshift field hospitals were set up as conventional establishments failed to cope with the deluge of patients.

Breitnauer explains how ordinary hospitals became 'centres for the spread of the disease' and as patients were kept in wards with 'sealed' windows despite expert insistent they should have access to 'cool, dry and fresh air'.

She adds: 'Some statistics even appear to show that those in the makeshift hospitals, especially tent hospitals, fared better than their counterparts on the wards.'

During the Spanish flu pandemic, makeshift field hospitals were set up as conventional establishments failed to cope with the deluge of patients. Pictured: Masked doctors and nurses treat flu patients lying on cots and in outdoor tents at a hospital camp, 1918

A ward at Fourth Scottish General Hospital where most patients were influenza cases. The photo was taken in November 1918

As the NHS grappled to cope with the deluge of coronavirus patients last year, temporary 'Nightingale' hospitals were set up, including at the Excel Centre in London

How deaths from Spanish flu compare to coronavirus fatalities

The global mortality rate for Spanish flu is estimated to have been between 10 and 20 per cent of those who were infected.

Young adults aged between 20 and 30 were the hardest hit, with onset devastatingly quick.

Overall, around 50million people globally lost their lives. In the UK, the figure was around 228,000.

By contrast, 126,000 Britons have lost their lives due to coronavirus. The average age of people who died from the disease in England and Wales is just over 82.

WHAT WAS SPANISH FLU?

The 1918 flu pandemic was unusually deadly and the first of two involving the H1N1 influenza virus.

It infected 500 million people globally, more than one-third of the world's population, including people on remote Pacific islands and in the Arctic.

It resulted in the deaths of an estimated three to five per cent of the world's population, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.

Spanish Flu resulted in the deaths of an estimated three to five per cent of the world's population, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. This image shows soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, ill with the virus

Within months it had killed three times as many as World War I and did it more quickly than any other illness in recorded history.

Most influenza outbreaks disproportionately kill juvenile, elderly, or already weakened patients. By contrast, the 1918 pandemic predominantly killed previously healthy young adults.

To maintain morale, wartime censors minimised early reports of illness and mortality in Germany, Britain, France, and the United States. However, newspapers were free to report the epidemic's effects in Spain.

This created a false impression of Spain as being especially hard hit, leading to the pandemic's nickname Spanish flu.

The close quarters and massive troop movements of World War I hastened the pandemic and probably both increased transmission and augmented mutation, researchers believe.

The true global mortality rate from the pandemic is not known, but an estimated 10 per cent to 20 per cent of those who were infected died. This would lead to a death toll of between 50 to 100 million people.


Notes from the past – a reading of Jaime Breitnauer’s “The Spanish Flu Epidemic and Its Influence on History”

In the malaise that grips an individual caught in the middle of a pandemic is the foreboding that no one knows anything about it. Even the name of the virus “novel coronavirus” implies that human society has not seen anything like this before (even though that is not the reason why the moniker was applied in the first place). But that’s hardly true, is it? Surely, mankind has faced many such events in the past and has probably emerged stronger for it. And surely, we can learn from such prior events, can we not? To do that, we need to first find the stories of such events. Perhaps the epic of Gilgamesh, perhaps the biblical story of the great flood, perhaps our own histories of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, are but retellings of our history and knowledge of such events. We may yet uncover a historian of the Ice Ages that threatened to wipe out homo sapiens from the face of the earth. Closer to our age, we have the wonderful literature of the middle ages recording the Black Plague – Boccaccio’s Decameron, Petrarch, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and Piers Plowman by William Langland are part of the canon. Even in art, Le Danse Macabre reminds us of the democratising leveller – the plague spared no one due to station, wealth, beauty, or age. Perhaps it is a stretch, but could the Reformation have taken place without the remembrance of the great equalizer like the Black Plague? But that is the topic for another set of meandering thoughts….

If you want to move closer to the Age of Science, the events of a scant hundred years ago stand out as a wonderful example of how we encountered another pandemic and recovered from it – the misnamed “Spanish Flu.” A global pandemic ranging from February 1918 to April 1920, this influenza is estimated to have a death toll of anywhere between seventeen and fifty million, with about a third of the world’s population having been infected by it – what we today would call “tested positive.” Mostly forgotten in the rest of the twentieth century, first as being a footnote to the First World War, and then being overtaken by what we consider to be the defining events of the twentieth century, the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Cold War, etc., the Spanish Flu has had a few chroniclers who have published books over the last decade that seem to be almost prescient in the timing of their publication.

One such book is Jaime Breitnauer’s The Spanish Flu Epidemic and Its Influence on History, published by Pen and Sword History from Yorkshire in 2019. This is a slender volume of 11 chapters chronicling personal stories and tying them up into a narrative that tries to determine the effect of the pandemic on the future. Right from the first chapter onwards, the author makes you aware as to how little do ordinary people know of the past, and how much history repeats itself. You get great nuggets of information – do you know that word virus comes from Latin meaning a “slimy liquid poison?” Or that the origin of the H1N1 term comes from the two proteins found on the surface of the virus – Haemagglutinin (or H), and Neuraminidase (or N)? These proteins can be slightly different, giving us H1N1 (the Spanish flu), H2N2 (the Asian flu of the 1950s), or the H3N2 variant (the Hong flu of the 1960s). You learn of the “antigenic drift,” the way these proteins change in an already established variant of the flu. This antigenic drift makes it difficult for the human body to fight the flu. Our immune system tries to combat the virus by producing protective chemicals called cytokines, followed by antibodies that attach themselves to the virus and destroy it. The human body also keeps in its memory the antibodies needed to fight the virus and can produce them when attacked again, but the antigenic drift seems to make the virus a new strain, and the human body cannot recognize it as the old virus.

The book has a chapter on India, covering three stories, and making the argument that the Spanish flu in India provided the stimulus for Gandhiji to become the leader of the freedom struggle, and how Britain’s colonial policies made it take hard stands against the Indian people and eventually forced the India people to turn its back on British raj. The individual stories include a poet (Nirala), Gandhiji himself (did you know that he had had a mild case of the Spanish flu?), and the unifying efforts of the Indians to treat their own people for the flu.

So what does Ms. Breitnauer say, are the lessons that we learn from the Spanish flu? First, the issues that seem to be ripped from today’s headlines seem to have created the outcomes from the pandemic of a century ago as well – safety versus economy, personal responsibility versus personal freedoms, racism and colonial policies, political agendas, school closures, all find an echo today. One lesson we have to learn from the Spanish flu: the “second wave” was caused by a mutation in the virus, and the movement of people at the end of the war. We have already learnt that COVID-19 has had several mutations. Will the “Unlock” episodes that we are going through be the equivalent of the movement of the people after the war? If so, our own “second wave” will doom all the efforts at quarantines and social distancing that we have used till now. The other big takeaway is how the Spanish flu led to some important movements – the freedom struggle, the public health initiatives that were launched as a result of the pandemic. What would the equivalents be today? We have much to ponder.

Finally, and I think that this is the main point I want to make. In reading about the “U” and “W” shapes of the deaths from the Spanish flu in the book, I feel that our scientific and medical community are well-versed in the workings of the virus and the effects of it on the populace. But do our administrators and public officials and the laypeople? Unless and until they learn and understand the effects of a pandemic on the global population, we may be in for a similar toll from the COVID-19 virus. We desperately need to get the general public well informed and involved in the management of a pandemic. It is only when that happens that we can overcome the old foes of progress – ignorance, a lack of consideration for the other, and a refusal to deal with the present with a scientific attitude.

Let me sign off with the well known saying from George Santayana that I quote in full as it seems very relevant today.

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when the experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.


The COVID-19 pandemic was, of course, a surprise for everyone in 2020. I submitted my manuscript to my publisher in mid-March 2020, just as schools and businesses were beginning to shut down, which affected the publishing industry.

Aside from that, the entire publishing process has been a learning experience for me. It’s been eye-opening to see how many people are involved in the process of publishing a book, and I am very thankful for the supportive and professional team I’m privileged to work with at The History Press/Arcadia Publishing.


A look at the 1918 influenza pandemic from its outbreak to its effects on the global population and its legacy.

On the second Monday of March, 1918, the world changed forever. What seemed like a harmless cold morphed into a global pandemic that would wipe out as many as a hundred-million people—ten times as many as the Great War. German troops faltered, lending the allies the winning advantage, and India turned its sights to independence while South Africa turned to God. In Western Samoa, a quarter of the population died in some parts of Alaska, whole villages were wiped out. Civil unrest sparked by influenza shaped nations and heralded a new era of public health where people were no longer blamed for contracting disease. Using real case histories, we take a journey through the world in 1918, and look at the impact of Spanish flu on populations from America to France and the Arctic, and at the scientific legacy this deadly virus has left behind.

“Breitnauer puts the whole thing into perspective with a fascinating account of the

origin and extent of the outbreak, at a time when people were returning from the conflict expecting a brave new world and instead confronting one of the deadliest epidemics ever to hit mankind.” —Books Monthly (UK)


Jaime Breitnauer - History

In Budapest, a lone woman dies quietly on a bench in the late afternoon sun, while in South Africa, a group of men plunge to their death in the blackness of a mine shaft elevator. In London, a loving father takes his daughter&rsquos life while in Austria a man grieves for his unborn baby trapped inside his dead wife&rsquos body. In Western Samoa, entire villages are wiped out in a matter of days and in India, the river Ganges becomes clogged with bloated corpses and the pungent smell of disease &hellip

This is not some post-apocalyptic future, but the reality of Spanish flu, which claimed the lives of around 100-million people globally between 1918 and 1920. Often overshadowed by the tragedy of the Great War, this book walks us through the lives of some of the victims, discusses the science behind the disease, and asks, what will the next pandemic look like?

About The Author

J. S. Breitnauer is a British born writer and editor who divides her time between the UK and New Zealand. A graduate in History and Sociology, and holder of an MA in Culture, Class and Power in Europe from 1850, both from the University of Warwick, Breitnauer has a particular interest in twentieth century history and the effects of disease and war on society.

Breitnauer has worked as a journalist and editor since 2003, contributing to a wide variety of newspapers, magazines and journals in the UK, New Zealand and the UAE, as well as contributing chapters to two Lonely Planet guides and parenting title Is it Bedtime Yet?. She has also worked for the Anne Frank Trust UK and The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand. In her writing, Breitnauer likes to focus on individual stories that add a personal dynamic to historical fact, to step into the shoes of those who were there, and experience a moment of their lives.

REVIEWS

Jaime Breitnauer puts the whole thing into perspective with a fascinating account of the
origin and extent of the outbreak, at a time when people were returning from the conflict expecting a
brave new world and instead confronting one of the deadliest epidemics ever to hit mankind.

- Books Monthly

Jaime Breitnauer - History

Candidates for Bishopsworth Ward May 2021

Contact Jaime Breitnauer and Bianca Rossetti

Jaime lives in Ashton Vale and usually spends a lot of time in Bishopsworth at Manor Woods and the Zion Centre. She is passionate about sustainable development, community consultation, safer streets and SEN education.

Bianca lives in Bishopsworth and is active in community engagement activities such as local litter picks and social groups, as well as advocating for better cycling infrastructure and fully accessible green spaces.

If elected, they would campaign to protect local assets such as the library and children’s centre, work to improve air quality, and propose improvements to streets and roads, public transport, and post-16 education.

We have seen an incredible response from the local community, with many residents in Bishopsworth and neighbouring wards volunteering to support those affected by the pandemic. The local Labour councillor candidates set up the BS13 COVID-19 r esponse Facebook group, which facilitated vital neighbourhood support such as help with shopping and prescription collection, as well as donations to food banks and other charit ies . We ’ve also had fantastic turnouts at our fortnightly litter picks, which have improved the green spaces that have become invaluable during lockdown.

Sadly, food insecurity is on the rise and we are aware of the high level of poverty in the south of Bishopsworth and neighbouring Hartcliffe affecting people’s ability to buy and cook nutritious food. The National Food Service has been delivering homemade frozen meals to people across the city, reaching almost 2,000 people in South Bristol alone at its peak. The NFS is rooted in socialist principles of eradicating hunger and social isolation, with the long-term vision of becoming a public service. Once it is safe to do so, they hope to start hosting low-cost community dining events. Heart of BS13 have also been providing meals to those in need, and are now offering free recipe boxes including their own locally grown produce, complemented by an online cookery club. Neither service is means tested.

Over the next few months, ‘From My Window’ will be organising window art trails to bring joy to the local community as the nights get darker and we continue to socially distance. See their F acebook page for inspiration and upcoming dates.


Watch the video: ЧТО ЕСЛИ ВРАЩАТЬСЯ НА КОЛЕСЕ 19 ЧАСОВ?