Review of Karl Taro Greenfeld’s China Syndrome – Logan Wright
Karl Taro Greenfeld, China Syndrome: the True Story of the 21st Century’s First Great Epidemic New York: HarperCollins, 2006.
On my flight to Beijing, via Seoul, I devoured Greenfeld’s account of the SARS crisis. Because I was in Beijing during the height of the SARS crisis, and I was able to travel to six or seven different provinces to survey their responses, I was interested in the account of a Hong Kong-based reporter of this period. Generally, the book was quite good, and covered the medical issues associated with virus-hunting, diagnosis, and prevention very well. Without any significant scientific background, I felt familiar enough with the behind-the-scenes work of the scientists involved after reading the book. The scientific developments present a parallel storyline to the “real-world” events of the epidemic, and because these scientists were generally only available to the press, this work provides a significant contribution to our understanding of the SARS crisis.