John Barry, Historian

In this episode, Dean Lloyd Minor is joined by eminent historian John Barry, a well-researched expert on two of our nation’s greatest crises: the Flu Pandemic of 1918 and the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. They serve as direct parallels to our present-day challenges of COVID and climate change. How did leaders approach these disasters back then? And what historical lessons can we employ to effectively lead on these issues?


Meet John Barry

Author, historian, adjunct professor at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine 

John M. Barry, an award-winning author and historian whose books have involved him in policy making, is a distinguished scholar and adjunct professor at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

The National Academies of Science named his 2004 book, “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Plague in History,” the year’s best book on science or medicine, and it was a New York Times bestseller. Barry advised the White House in the Bush and Obama administrations on pandemic preparedness and response, and he is the only non-scientist ever to give the National Academies of Science Abel Wolman Distinguished Lecture. 

The Society of American Historians named Barry’s earlier book “Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America” the year’s best book of American history, and in 2005 the New York Public Library named “Rising Tide” one of the 50 best books in the preceding 50 years. 

Barry has worked with the private sector and with state, federal, United Nations, and World Health Organization officials on pandemics, water-related disasters, and risk communication. 

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