On L2L: October 27, 2017 (click to listen to the episode)
About the 1918–1919 Influenza Pandemic
Ninety-nine years ago, populations across the globe faced a great foe—influenza. During the pandemic, which started in spring 1918 and continued into the following year, nearly one-third of the world’s population had been infected. By the end, it is estimated that the virus had taken the lives of nearly 20 million to 50 million people. The pandemic came in three waves—the worst of which occurred in October of 1918. It has been called “the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history” (Billings 2005: ¶1). Nearly a century has past, but it is not to be forgotten. In Washington this month, for example, the World Bank hosted a pandemic simulation, attempting to prepare global leaders in multiple sectors for the possibility of a new epidemic—perhaps a strain of the flu, perhaps some other illness—but something which experts say will come “[p]robably sooner than we expect” (Sun 2017: ¶5). And public health professionals and other leaders have urged a commitment to global health and the need for planning and preparations.
About the Book
Bea Dot Ferguson has a life many in Savannah envy: a wealthy husband, a luxurious house, a baby on the way. But appearances are deceiving. To hide a terrible secret, Bea Dot married a man she didn’t love—only to suffer his brutality later on. When her cousin Netta invites her for a visit in rural Pineview, Georgia, Bea Dot jumps at the chance to escape. But she soon learns she’s traded one perilous situation for another—Pineview has been infected with deadly Spanish influenza. As the epidemic escalates, Bea Dot and Netta must fight for survival. With the help of Will Dunaway, a recently returned Great War veteran, Bea Dot draws upon strength she never knew she had. As she and Will desperately try to avoid contagion, their mutual attraction grows, making them both the target of her husband’s wrath. A sweeping Southern tale of hope and betrayal, love and loss, Dunaway’s Crossing is a moving testament to the strength of the human spirit.
About the Author
Nancy Brandon’s first novel, Dunaway’s Crossing—for which she was selected as a finalist in 2013 for the Georgia Author of the Year Award—is set in 1918 in rural Georgia. Though way too young to have witnessed the pandemic firsthand, Nancy knows rural Georgia well. Although she was born in Atlanta, she grew up in Hawkinsville, where her mother edited and wrote columns for the Hawkinsville Dispatch and News and she worked as a paper girl. Her writing career began early, inspired in part by her mother and her grandmother, children’s author Sydney K. Davis. Over the past few decades, Nancy has taught college composition and published four college writing textbooks. With regard to her works of fiction, which include Dunaway’s Crossing and a second novel titled Show Me a Kindness, Nancy draws on her small-town Georgia roots and an affinity for the past to craft stories about everyday people overcoming obstacles that come from living in the rural South. She currently is writing a third novel..