[Book Review] COVID-19: Separating Fact From Fiction by Anirban Mahapatra

An easy-to-understand account of the emergence and development of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020

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I have a lot to say about this book, but I don’t think I have the right words for it.

Nevertheless, I will try to convince you that COVID-19: Separating Fact From Fiction is not like other “serious” books on the pandemic, and you only have to read the first chapter to know that I’m not exaggerating.

I have nothing to gain by promoting this book, except the satisfaction of doing my bit to help people understand why they must learn from this pandemic and not forget it as a “bad phase.”

COVID-19 Anirban Mahapatra book review

I’m so confident about the merits of this book because I have been following the author on Twitter throughout 2020.

He has been a sane voice amid all the noise around the virus and the alarmist news reports. He helped me cope with the deluge of “technical” information about infection, vaccines and clinical trials.

You don’t need to have a science background to understand the contents of this book. The author leads us gently from the beginnings of the pandemic to lucid explanations of how viruses operate to how vaccines are developed.

What he’s written isn’t new to me, but the way he’s written it has made me see things from a fresh perspective.

Why should you read this book?

  • Finds an excellent balance between research paper-like complexity and a superficial account of events
  • Cuts through the clutter of conflicting news reports to offer us a streamlined, step-by-step, account of the pandemic so far
  • Provides the unbiased viewpoint of an expert that you don’t get from news reports and articles
  • Curates research on SARS-Cov-2 and presents in easy-to-understand language
  • Offers analogies with real life to help people understand biological concepts

I think our biology lecturers need to take a few tips from this book on bringing a subject alive.

You don’t need to read the book from cover to cover. The chapters are designed to stand alone. But I would recommend that you read the chapters in sequence to get a full understanding of coronaviruses and how they affect humans. It’s not meant to be read in one sitting, either.

If you feel jaded by all the virus news through 2020, you’ll be surprised by how pleasant this book makes it all seem. I was not reminded of the anxiety and fear that I felt last year.

What I liked most about the book was its comprehensiveness, its optimistic tone, and the way it leaves things open-ended.

Are you convinced yet?


Book Details

Publisher – Penguin

Publication date – Feb 24, 2021

Length – 256 pages

Goodreads – http://bit.ly/2O5unrM

Amazon.com (Kindle version) https://amzn.to/3c5sIKK

Amazon.in (Hardcover version) – https://amzn.to/3v4UGzg

Amazon.in (Kindle version) – https://amzn.to/3e63SgJ


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