Allen Lane has signed an "all-encompassing" account of the Covid-19 crisis from Pulitzer Prize-winner Lawrence Wright.
Penguin Press publishing director Simon Winder acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from James Pullen at the Wylie Agency. The Plague Year: America in the Time of Covid will be released on 8th June.
Wright, a staff writer at the New Yorker, won a Pulitzer Prize for his 2006 book The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda's Road to 9/11 (Penguin). His new title traces Covid-19 from its origins in China, to the critical first weeks and months of its arrival in the US, through its escalation around the world, to today.
He said: “We are witnessing an extraordinary moment in history where lives are being lost to Covid-19 every day. As a reporter, I feel a great responsibility to give a full accounting of what has happened – indeed is still happening – and to sort through the science, to address the political calamity, to gain an understanding of what has led to this moment, and to pay tribute to all the professionals who are putting their lives on the line.”
Allen Lane said the book examines how the virus was handled by politicians, policy makers, and frontline workers, the vaccine development and its ongoing roll-out, and the newly emerging virus variants. His account “takes note of the failures that might have spared the nation from the magnitude of the catastrophe, but he also shines a light on the heroes who have fought to curb this contagion”.
The publisher said: “In The Plague Year, Wright takes us inside the Center for Disease Control and the White House, into a hospital Covid ward, into the realm of prediction specialists – and even inside the human body, diving deep into the science of how viruses and vaccines function. Wright cuts through layers of misinformation and obfuscation, giving readers the first clear-eyed assessment of this ongoing catastrophe, and pays tribute to the medical professionals who continue to risk their lives fighting the virus.”
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