Preventable

Preventable

How a Pandemic Changed the World & How to Stop the Next One

Summary

**THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER | BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK**

Preventable
tells the extraordinary story of COVID-19 and how global politics shape our health - from a world-leading expert and the pandemic's go-to science communicator


Professor Devi Sridhar has risen to prominence for her vital roles in communicating science to the public and speaking truth to power. In Preventable she highlights lessons learned from outbreaks past and present in a narrative that traces the COVID-19 pandemic - including her personal experience as a scientist - and sets out a vision for how we can better protect ourselves from the inevitable health crises to come.

In gripping and heartfelt prose, Sridhar exposes the varied realities of those affected (from the jailed doctor in Wuhan who sounded the alarm, and the bored passengers marooned on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, to the daily nightmares of exhausted healthcare workers), and puts you in the room with key decision makers at crucial moments (from over-confident heads of states and their hesitant scientific advisors, to the beleaguered leaders of global health organisations).

Sridhar vibrantly conveys the twists and turns of a plot that saw: deadlier variants emerge (contrary to the predictions of social media pundits who argued it would mutate to a milder form); the Pyrrhic victory in many countries of the false narrative of health versus the economy (those countries which controlled the virus, like Taiwan and Denmark, had a steadier recovery); countries with weak health systems like Senegal and Vietnam fare better than countries like the US and UK (which were consistently ranked as the most prepared); and the quickest development of game-changing vaccines in history (and their unfair distribution).

Combining science, politics, ethics and economics, this definitive book dissects the global structures that determine our fate, and reveals the deep-seated economic and social inequalities at their heart - it will challenge, outrage and inspire.

'A brutally compelling reminder that if voices like Devi's had been listened to, so many more could have lived' OWEN JONES

'One of the most brilliant scientists in the world who has been proven consistently right in this crisis' PIERS MORGAN

'Excellent . . . Fair, clear and compelling' NICOLA STURGEON


'Those who have found Professor Devi Sridhar's expertise and calm advice invaluable since the arrival of Covid-19 will be glad to know that she has written Preventable' RACHEL COOKE, Guardian, Non-fiction to look out for in 2022

Reviews

  • The sensational story of how a disaster was turned into a catastrophe, with the clarity, precision and humanity that you would expect from one of the most important voices of reason of the COVID era. A brutally compelling reminder that if voices like Devi's had been listened to, so many more could have lived
    Owen Jones

About the author

Devi Sridhar

Devi Sridhar is Professor and Chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh. As a Rhodes Scholar she holds an MPhil and DPhil from the University of Oxford, where she has since held research positions. She has served as a policy advisor for the WHO, UNICEF, UNESCO and the Scottish, UK and German governments, and in 2017 she co-wrote the academic book Governing Global Health with Chelsea Clinton. Devi writes for the Guardian and is regularly called upon to discuss the coronavirus pandemic for broadcast media. This is her first book for a general readership.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more