Epidemic sickness is on many minds following the reports of outbreaks of the bird flu and other widespread illnesses, even here in the North Country.
Isolation may seem like the key to keeping family and communities healthy during outbreaks. However, an unfortunate series of events made isolation tactics appear futile in Thomas Mullen’s historical novel “The Last Town on Earth.”
Mullen will be addressing SUNY Canton at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, in the Kingston Theater located in the Richard W. Miller Campus Center. The reading and ensuing book signing is free and open to the public.
“Members of the campus community read this novel as part of the Character Development Reading program,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Daniel J. Sweeney. “This book was selected for both its significance in current society and the opportunities it presented to discuss the moral dilemmas the characters faced.”
“The Last Town on Earth” was inspired by a previously little-known historical footnote regarding towns that quarantined themselves during the 1918 epidemic. While World War I ravages the majority of western civilization, the small town of Commonwealth decides to close its doors to the outside world in attempt to keep the flu at bay.
The main characters are faced with the ethical impact of defending the townspeople’s decisions while facing all of the ramifications that total isolation brings to light. Many history-shaping events influence the occupants of commonwealth, including the unionization of workers in the Industrial Workers of the World.