During World War I, the influenza pandemic ultimately killed more people around the world than the war itself. The Last Town on Earth takes as its launching point a striking historical footnote: some uninfected towns were so terrified of the surrounding flu that they closed their entrances, posted signs warning strangers not to enter, and even stationed armed guards to make sure no outsiders brought infection into their communities. Mullen incisively imagines this situation, employing it as the basis for the moral drama spurring his story forward. One night, an infected soldier approaches the newly founded town of Commonwealth, which was created as a refuge for its mill worker residents, begging for food and shelter. Should the guards on duty admit a stranger to their town (someone who has been fighting a war on their behalf), thereby putting their families and loved ones at risk of infection? Or should they place their lives above his and leave him to freeze to death in the dark woods?
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by Loren D. Estleman
by Thomas F. Madden
by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
by William T. Vollmann
by Bruce Machart
by Anthony Doerr
by Geoffrey Hosking
by Nelson Algren
by Aaron Latham
by Cotton Smith
by Paul Robertson
"A frightening portrayal of what the flu pandemic of 1918 was like-and, therefore, what we may be facing today-is one reason this novel is compelling. Set against the backdrop of the early labor movement and the U.S. involvement in the war in Europe, the story is about how the residents of a fictional Pacific Northwest lumber town try to protect themselves from the deadly flu by imposing a quarantine on their community. Henry Stozier's down-home narration captures the rural setting of the story. Speaking quietly and deliberately, he gives no warning that terrible events are about to unfold. By continuing in that vein as the utopian community falls apart, he makes the story all the more moving. S.K. (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine"
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