Remember the inspiring stories of the great flu pandemic of 1918? Communities rallied around the cause of public health. Self-sacrifice was the order of the day. Across the United States, the citizenry gladly wore masks and observed quarantine measures.
Check those thoughts, says historian Jennifer D. Keene, dean of Chapman University’s Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.
“I hear people now talking about how they had a sense of collective purpose and the common good back then, and I think, ‘What America are they talking about?’” says Keene, Ph.D., an internationally recognized World War I historian. She has studied the 1918 influenza through the lens of its impact on the war abroad as well as the home front.