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Best-Selling Author John M. Barry Will Visit U of M Feb. 16
For release: Jan. 23, 2006
For press information, contact

The University of Memphis will host best-selling writer John M. Barry on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. in the Michael D. Rose Theatre. The author of five books, Barry is best known for The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History and Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America.

The event is free and open to the public.

The Great Influenza examines the 1918 pandemic, an outbreak with a death toll of 50 to 100 million. The Chicago Tribune called the book "monumental ... powerfully intelligent ... not just a masterful narrative of the events of 1918 but also an authoritative and disturbing morality tale of science, politics, and culture." The book received the 2005 Keck Award from the National Academies of Science for the outstanding book on science or medicine of the year.

Barry has been recognized for his insights into public health and has been invited to join the federal government's Infectious Disease Board of Experts. He has advised federal, state, and World Health Organization officials on pandemic influenza and on bioterrorism.

Rising Tide won the Southern Book Award and was described by the Washington Post as "a big ambitious book that is not merely engrossing and informative but also has the potential to change the way we think." The book raised public awareness of the impact of catastrophic flooding. After Hurricane Katrina, Barry was asked to chair a bipartisan group on flood control.

Barry has been involved in many documentary films, including several on PBS's The American Experience series. He has also written for The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, Esquire, and other publications.

His visit is sponsored by the Marcus Orr Faculty Senate Lectureship Committee and is co-sponsored by the U of M's departments of anthropology, communications, English, and history, the University Honors Program, the Provost's Office, the University of Tennessee/Methodist Foundation, UT-Health, and Dr. Ken Ward of the Center for Community Health.

For more information, contact Carolyn Featherstone at 901-678-2512.

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