Voices from the Pandemic: Americans Tell Their Stories of Crisis, Courage and Resilience

Eli Saslow. Doubleday, $27 (240p) ISBN 978-0-385-54700-0
Drawing on interviews with more than 200 Americans conducted between March 2020 and January 2021, Pulitzer winner Saslow (Rising Out of Hatred) paints in this fascinating oral history an essential portrait of how the Covid-19 pandemic “became personal to each of us.” In one of the book’s most heartbreaking pieces, a young man discusses his guilt over throwing a party that resulted in the Covid-related deaths of several of his family members. Elsewhere, a grandmother recounts being evicted from her apartment after her temp agency work dried up, and a New York City paramedic notes that he pronounced more deaths during the first two weeks of April 2020 than in his previous 26 years on the job. The terrifying experience of falling sick is examined through the stories of a 52-year-old mother who died after the virus “kept assaulting her body for months until it was too much to handle,” and a former Division I athlete whose lingering symptoms include brain fog and extreme fatigue. Saslow also includes the dueling perspectives of a 63-year-old asthmatic store clerk striving to keep herself safe and a man who says his refusal to wear a mask is “about protecting our freedom and rising above all this political propaganda.” The breadth of Saslow’s reporting astonishes, as does the directness and vulnerability of his interview subjects. This powerful, unputdownable account should be required reading. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM Partners. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/15/2021
Release date: 09/28/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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