Examining COVID-19’s place in history with bestselling author John M. Barry ’68

The Brown University Veterans Alumni Council (BUVAC) welcomed the author for a talk titled "Contextualizing COVID-19: Its Impact in Rhode Island and Correlations to 1918."

While writing his New York Times bestseller The Great Influenza: The Deadliest Pandemic in History almost 16 years ago, did author John M. Barry ’68 ever expect to live through a global pandemic himself?

“Actually, yes,” says Barry. “I certainly knew it was not only possible, but likely.”

During this virtual conversation on May 6, 2021, Barry was joined by David Polatty, visiting scholar at Brown’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and director of the Humanitarian Response Program at the U.S. Naval War College. The two shared their insights on the pandemic, its place in history, its impact on Rhode Island, and lessons that can be learned. Joan Wernig Sorensen ’72 LHD’19 hon., P’06 P’06, honorary BUVAC member and Brown Corporation Fellow, moderated the discussion.


The views expressed in this interview do not necessarily represent those of Brown University.

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