The Last Town on Earth

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The Last Town on Earth
The Last Town on Earth Book Image.jpg
The Last Town on Earth
AuthorThomas Mullen
CountryUnited States
PublisherRandom House
Publication date
August 29, 2006
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
813/.6 22
LC ClassPS3613.U447 L37 2006

The Last Town on Earth is a 2006 novel by American writer Thomas Mullen. The novel explores events in the fictional town of Commonwealth, Washington in 1918 during World War I and the Spanish flu epidemic. The town agrees to quarantine itself from the outside world, hoping to escape the international epidemic of the flu.[1] Phillip Worthy, the adopted son of Charles Worthy, the town founder, brings a lost soldier into the town. While he appears to be healthy, residents begin to suffer the flu, and start to turn against 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 author's afterword, he created the fictional community of Commonwealth inspired by his studies of Gunnison, Colorado (which imposed a quarantine trying to prevent the flu) and the socialist communes in Washington state of Equality Colony, Freeland, and Home. Mullen also cited John M. Barry's 2004 book The Great Influenza as inspiration.

This novel 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".[2]


  1. ^ Byrd, Max. "Bookshelf: Historical Novel Patriotic Fury". American Heritage, 2006 Volume 57 Issue 6. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  2. ^ Byrd, Max (September 3, 2006). "Journal of a Plague Year". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-11.