The Dead Zone

Did you know that the so-called "Spanish" influenza epidemic of 1918 killed more Americans in three months than the number who died in the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War - combined? Most people don't. Not only has the history of this particularly virulent virus been lost, but its biology also remains unknown, because the first viruses were not isolated until the 1930's. In "The Dead Zone", Malcolm Gladwell describes a project intending to disinter the bodies of seven young Norwegian miners who have been buried eighty years in the permafrost of Norway, near the town of Longyearbyen. The plan is to carefully obtain samples of either the virus itself or its RNA residue. The article contains a lot of interesting history and science.

Publication information
Pick Attribution: 

Malcolm Gladwell

Publication Date: 
Monday, September 29, 1997