Image of author David Quammen

David Quammen

Acclaimed science writer David Quammen will discuss his new book on the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic, "Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus."

Breathless by David Quammen book cover image.Having just been lauded as a finalist for the National Book Award, David Quammen comes to Elk River Books on Thursday, Dec. 15, to discuss his new book, Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus.

Called a “must-read” in a starred Publisher’s Weekly review, and “a scientific detective story” by Booklist, Breathless tells the story of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a distinct difference from other works on this topic: “Breathless is the story of the virus itself – its murky origins, its fast evolution, and its fierce journey through the human population as scientists across the globe raced to understand the virus, contain it, and fight its spread.

“Based on interviews with nearly one hundred scientists, including leading virologists in China and around the world, Breathless is a masterwork of storytelling that takes readers inside the frantic international effort to understand and control SARS-CoV-2, as if we were peering over the shoulders of the brilliant scientists who led the chase.”

Quammen, called “our greatest living chronicler of the natural world” by Parul Sehgal of the New York Times, has spent decades covering the dangers of emerging viruses, and in 2012 authored the award-winning book Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. With Breathless, he continues that work, offering a comprehensive picture of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and showing how the ever-increasing problem of new viruses spilling from wildlife into humans is a result of our disrupting their delicate, wild ecosystems – sometimes causing global catastrophe.

David Quammen’s 16 previous books include The Tangled Tree, The Song of the Dodo, The Reluctant Mr. Darwin, and Spillover, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and recipient of the Premio Letterario Merck in Rome. He has written for The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and Outside, among other magazines, and is a three-time winner of the National Magazine Award.

Elk River Books is located at 122 S. 2nd St. in downtown Livingston. The free event begins at 7 p.m., and a book signing and reception will follow.

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