Simon Heffer

Viral News

Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World

By

Jonathan Cape 332pp £20 order from our bookshop

Folk memory of the Spanish flu, which at the end of the Great War wiped out many of those who survived the conflict and many more who had not been near the front line, lived on in families for decades afterwards. In mine it centred on Uncle Fred Shaw, who married Aunt Betty in 1916 and, after a honeymoon of a few days, headed back to France, where he was serving with the Royal Flying Corps. Shot down almost immediately, he was hugely fortunate to survive the crash, but he was captured by the Germans and detained in a prisoner of war camp near Bonn. Before he could be sent home he caught the flu and died there at the start of 1919. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Sign up to our email newsletter below! Get free articles, highlights from the archive, and chances to win theatre… ,
    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,