The Plague Year: America in the Time of Covid (Hardcover)
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From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Looming Tower: an unprecedented, momentous account of Covid-19—its origins, its wide-ranging repercussions, and the ongoing global fight to contain it
From the fateful first moments of the outbreak in China to the storming of the U.S. Capitol to the extraordinary vaccine rollout, Lawrence Wright’s The Plague Year tells the story of Covid-19 in authoritative, galvanizing detail and with the full drama of events on both a global and intimate scale, illuminating the medical, economic, political, and social ramifications of the pandemic.
Wright takes us inside the CDC, where a first round of faulty test kits lost America precious time . . . inside the halls of the White House, where Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger’s early alarm about the virus was met with confounding and drastically costly skepticism . . . into a Covid ward in a Charlottesville hospital, with an idealistic young woman doctor from the town of Little Africa, South Carolina . . . into the precincts of prediction specialists at Goldman Sachs . . . into Broadway’s darkened theaters and Austin’s struggling music venues . . . inside the human body, diving deep into the science of how the virus and vaccines function—with an eye-opening detour into the history of vaccination and of the modern anti-vaccination movement. And in this full accounting, Wright makes clear that the medical professionals around the country who’ve risked their lives to fight the virus reveal and embody an America in all its vulnerability, courage, and potential.
In turns steely-eyed, sympathetic, infuriated, unexpectedly comical, and always precise, Lawrence Wright is a formidable guide, slicing through the dense fog of misinformation to give us a 360-degree portrait of the catastrophe we thought we knew as we lived through it.
About the Author
LAWRENCE WRIGHT is a staff writer for The New Yorker, a playwright, a screenwriter, and the author of ten books of nonfiction, including The Looming Tower, Going Clear, and God Save Texas. His recent novel, The End of October, was a New York Times best seller. Wright's books have received many honors, including a Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower. He and his wife are longtime residents of Austin, Texas.
“Maddening and sobering—as comprehensive an account of the first year of the pandemic as we’ve yet seen . . . In his characteristically rigorous and engrossing style, Wright documents innumerable episodes of ineptitude and malfeasance even as Trump officials such as Peter Navarro privately reckoned that ‘a full-blown . . . pandemic could infect as many as 100 million Americans.’” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)