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Dramatic,
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3 reviews

The Last Town on Earth: A Novel
by Thomas Mullen

Published: 2007-07-31
Paperback : 432 pages
5 members reading this now
15 clubs reading this now
6 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 3 members
Set against the backdrop of one of the most virulent epidemics that America ever experienced–the 1918 flu epidemic–Thomas Mullen’s powerful, sweeping first novel is a tale of morality in a time of upheaval.

Deep in the mist-shrouded forests of the Pacific Northwest is ...
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Introduction

Set against the backdrop of one of the most virulent epidemics that America ever experienced–the 1918 flu epidemic–Thomas Mullen’s powerful, sweeping first novel is a tale of morality in a time of upheaval.

Deep in the mist-shrouded forests of the Pacific Northwest is a small mill town called Commonwealth, conceived as a haven for workers weary of exploitation. For Philip Worthy, the adopted son of the town’s founder, it is a haven in another sense–as the first place in his life he’s had a loving family to call his own.

And yet, the ideals that define this outpost are being threatened from all sides. A world war is raging, and with the fear of spies rampant, the loyalty of all Americans is coming under scrutiny. Meanwhile, another shadow has fallen across the region in the form of a deadly illness striking down vast swaths of surrounding communities.

When Commonwealth votes to quarantine itself against contagion, guards are posted at the single road leading in and out of town, and Philip Worthy is among them. He will be unlucky enough to be on duty when a cold, hungry, tired–and apparently ill–soldier presents himself at the town’s doorstep begging for sanctuary. The encounter that ensues, and the shots that are fired, will have deafening reverberations throughout Commonwealth, escalating until every human value–love, patriotism, community, family, friendship–not to mention the town’s very survival, is imperiled.

Inspired by a little-known historical footnote regarding towns that quarantined themselves during the 1918 epidemic, The Last Town on Earth is a remarkably moving and accomplished debut.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Overall rating:
 
 
by arizonamom (see profile) 02/28/17

 
  "The Last Town on Earth"by sumacc (see profile) 03/18/14

This rather depressing story makes for good discussion on morals and ethics. One club member commented, " The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Good people trying to do the right thing, but... (read more)

 
  "Keep Your Sneezes to Yourself"by mel29 (see profile) 04/23/12

This book was slow to get into, but once I did it was a bit suspenseful, informative and disturbing (how is a pandemic not disturbing).
Gives one quite a bit to think about in regards to a
... (read more)

 
  "The year is 1918. America is fighting a war on foreign soil that has divided the nation. Meanwhile, rumors of the spread of the deadliest epidemic ever are causing panic on the home front. The uninfec"by cimlibrarian (see profile) 12/18/08

An excellent book for discussion, there are many morale questions that the characters must face. Our book group found the characters believable and the book though not hapy book one that should be read... (read more)

 
  "A Believable Concept; It Could Happen - But I wanted better..."by jaseifert (see profile) 05/13/08

Tolerable read, it kept me going but I wanted so much more to happen. A great plot but it never seemed to take off for me - the story dragged and I never really felt like I knew the characters. Just... (read more)

 
  "A small town decades ago is the scene where the morality of issues we still face today are played out. A flu epidemic, army drafts, and labor unions each have their role in the struggles faced by pe"by helene8011 (see profile) 12/11/07

I can't wait for our book club discussion! There are SO many topics stemming out of this book and I LOVE that the tone of the book presents them without pushing an agenda. It is written simply as a description... (read more)

 
  "Raises good discussion topics"by valeriepark (see profile) 10/23/07

This book raises lots of issues and kept the book club discussion raging all night.

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