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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > Mar-18 > 1918 Spanish flu epidemic

1918 Spanish flu epidemic

Extracts from memoirs and diaries, chosen by Ian Irvine
Egon Schiele’s unfinished family portrait
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The way we were

It wasn’t particularly Spanish, but the name stuck when in May 1918 the Spanish king, the prime minister and his entire cabinet came down with it. To maintain morale, wartime censorship minimised early reports in belligerent countries, but newspapers were free to report on neutral Spain. It came in two phases. In late spring it appeared without warning. Few deaths were reported and most victims recovered after a few days. When it resurfaced in autumn, it was far more severe.

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In Prospect’s March issue: A series of writers turn their thoughts to the developing war over words in the UK and the US. Lionel Shriver, Afua Hirsch, Simon Lancaster, Hugh Tomlinson, Tom Clark and two students ask if free expression is truly compromised? What’s really going on in our universities? And what do voters think? Elsewhere in the issue: Michael Ignatieff questions why today’s left-wing leaders can’t live up to the high mark set by FDR, Sameer Rahim shows how western powers have been trying to dictate what Islam should be, and Mary Beard asks “How do we look?” as our perceptions of what is beautiful have changes over the centuries.
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