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The Last Town On Earth (2006)

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The Last Town On Earth
Date: 2012
Source: Wikipedia

Abstract: The Last Town on Earth is a 2006 novel by Thomas Mullen. The novel focuses on the town of Commonwealth, Washington in 1918 during World War I and the emergence of the Spanish Flu.

The town agrees to quarantine itself from the outside world, to hopefully save itself from the flu. Unfortunately, Phillip Worthy, the adopted son of Charles Worthy, the town founder, brings a lost soldier into the town and while it seems as if the soldier is perfectly healthy, the flu comes into Commonwealth anyway causing the town to start turning on each other.

The politics of the Industrial Workers of the World, American Protective League, and the Four-Minute Men, as well as the aftermath of the Everett Massacre, play major roles in the novel. According to the afterward, Commonwealth was inspired by a combination of Gunnison, Colorado (which quarantined itself from the flu) and the communes of Equality Colony, Freeland, and Home (which were socialist communes in Washington). John M. Barry's The Great Influenza was also an inspiration.

It won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction in 2007. The New York Times Book Review calls it a "remarkable first novel" and praises the novel's "brilliant series of plot twists" and "carefully detailed historical context" (Wikipedia, 2012).