An eye-opening, urgent book that demands an end to inequality as a matter of life and death.

THERE ARE NO ACCIDENTS

THE DEADLY RISE OF INJURY AND DISASTER―WHO PROFITS AND WHO PAYS THE PRICE

The rate of deaths attributed to accident in the U.S. is appalling—and, but for lust for profit, mostly avoidable.

“One person dies by accident every three minutes or so in the United States, the deaths appearing unrelated and not particularly worthy of note,” writes journalist Singer in this searing, deeply researched account. But is that really so? Not when you consider the fact that Blacks “die in accidental house fires at more than twice the rate of white people,” that Native Americans are twice as likely as Whites to die of being hit by cars while walking, that West Virginians are twice as likely as Virginians to die accidentally. Such facts speak to structural conditions that disfavor the poor and marginalized. “Accidents,” writes the author, “are not just flukes or freak mishaps—whether or not you die by accident is just a measure of your power, or lack of it. She elaborates: It’s possible to slip on a wet floor, a human error, but the fact that the floor has a layer of water on it is a condition. Similarly, “to run an oil tanker aground on a reef is a human error,” she asserts, while demanding that tanker pilots work 12-hour shifts is a condition sure to yield error. So it is that pedestrians killed by cars speak to conditions. Speed limits are too high, for example, cars can travel too fast at the driver’s discretion, and pedestrian walkways are rare. Furthermore, countless industries resist efforts at structural reform, from slaughterhouses whose lines run so fast that “accidents” are inevitable, to auto manufacturers lobbying against speed regulators, seat belts, and airbags. Many people, Singer argues persuasively, are inclined to see accidents as something to blame on victims instead of looking at deeply entrenched structures of injustice. “If accidents befall the poor because they are poor, and poor people deserve their poverty,” she writes, “it follows that the rich deserve their riches as well.”

An eye-opening, urgent book that demands an end to inequality as a matter of life and death.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982129-66-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

THE WAR ON THE WEST

A British journalist fulminates against Black Lives Matter, critical race theory, and other threats to White privilege.

“There is an assault going on against everything to do with the Western world—its past, present, and future.” So writes Spectator associate editor Murray, whose previous books have sounded warnings against the presumed dangers of Islam and of non-Western immigration to the West. As the author argues, Westerners are supposed to take in refugees from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while being “expected to abolish themselves.” Murray soon arrives at a crux: “Historically the citizens of Europe and their offspring societies in the Americas and Australasia have been white,” he writes, while the present is bringing all sorts of people who aren’t White into the social contract. The author also takes on the well-worn subject of campus “wokeness,” a topic of considerable discussion by professors who question whether things have gone a bit too far; indeed, the campus is the locus for much of the anti-Western sentiment that Murray condemns. The author’s arguments against reparations for past damages inflicted by institutionalized slavery are particularly glib. “It comes down to people who look like the people to whom a wrong was done in history receiving money from people who look like the people who may have done the wrong,” he writes. “It is hard to imagine anything more likely to rip apart a society than attempting a wealth transfer based on this principle.” Murray does attempt to negotiate some divides reasonably, arguing against “exclusionary lines” and for Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s call for a more vigorous and welcoming civil culture. Too often, however, the author falters, as when he derides Gen. Mark Milley for saying, “I want to understand white rage. And I’m white”—perhaps forgetting the climacteric White rage that Milley monitored on January 6, 2021.

A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-316202-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Broadside Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2022

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Gates offers a persuasive, 30,000-foot view of a global problem that, he insists, can be prevented given will and money.

HOW TO PREVENT THE NEXT PANDEMIC

The tech mogul recounts the health care–related dimensions of his foundation in what amounts to a long policy paper.

“Outbreaks are inevitable, but pandemics are optional.” Thus states the epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, a Gates adviser, who hits on a critically important point: Disease is a fact of nature, but a pandemic is a political creation of a kind. Therefore, there are political as well as medical solutions that can enlist governments as well as scientists to contain outbreaks and make sure they don’t explode into global disasters. One critical element, Gates writes, is to alleviate the gap between high- and low-income countries, the latter of which suffer disproportionately from outbreaks. Another is to convince governments to ramp up production of vaccines that are “universal”—i.e., applicable to an existing range of disease agents, especially respiratory pathogens such as coronaviruses and flus—to prepare the world’s populations for the inevitable. “Doing the right thing early pays huge dividends later,” writes Gates. Even though doing the right thing is often expensive, the author urges that it’s a wise investment and one that has never been attempted—e.g., developing a “global corps” of scientists and aid workers “whose job is to wake up every day thinking about diseases that could kill huge numbers of people.” To those who object that such things are easier said than done, Gates counters that the development of the current range of Covid vaccines was improbably fast, taking a third of the time that would normally have been required. At the same time, the author examines some of the social changes that came about through the pandemic, including the “new normal” of distance working and learning—both of which, he urges, stand to be improved but need not be abandoned.

Gates offers a persuasive, 30,000-foot view of a global problem that, he insists, can be prevented given will and money.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-53448-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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