“A mash-up of Erik Larson and Richard Preston.” —Tina Jordan, New York Times Book Review podcast
On March 6, 1900, the bubonic plague took its first victim on American soil: Chinese immigrant Wong Chut King. Empowered by racist pseudoscience, officials rushed to quarantine Chinatown—but when corrupt politicians mounted a cover-up to obscure the threat, it fell to federal health officer Rupert Blue to save San Francisco, and the nation, from a gruesome fate. Black Death at the Golden Gate is a spine-chilling saga of virulent racism, human folly, and the ultimate triumph of scientific progress.
About the Author
David K. Randall is the New York Times best-selling author of Dreamland, The King and Queen of Malibu, Black Death at the Golden Gate, and The Monster's Bones. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times, among other publications. A senior reporter at Reuters, he lives in Montclair, New Jersey.
A vivid, fast-paced and at times revolting history of the plague in San Francisco.… [Black Death at the Golden Gate] unfolds like a medical thriller.
— Julia Flynn Siler - Wall Street Journal
The race to identify, isolate and halt the disease is set against a rich background of official complacency, financial malfeasance, political intrigues and scientific disputes.… Randall’s account is pacy and gripping.
— Tilli Tansey - Nature
A meticulously researched history that unfolds like a thriller.
— Mary Roach, New York Times best-selling author of Grunt
A haunting detective tale packed with villains and heroes.
— Jason Fagone, author of the national bestseller The Woman Who Smashed Codes
Black Death at the Golden Gate provides a fascinating glimpse into [a] forgotten chapter of American history.… Discrimination, bigotry, and greed are woven throughout this fast-paced, historical, non-fiction adventure.… This is a great read for anyone who enjoys history or medicine.
— Jennifer Melville - San Francisco Book Review
A fascinating, in-depth look at a little-known episode in American history.… The story of the bubonic plague outbreak serves as an excellent lead-in for Randall to examine the advances that created modern cities.
— Shelf Awareness
This story of an epidemic that wasn’t is a gripping historical mystery and a key cautionary tale for our own time.
A complex tale of medicine, politics, race, and public health.… [Randall] does good work in revealing the clamorous clash of public and private interests surrounding the outbreak.… A tale that resonates with the outbreak of measles, mumps, and other supposedly contained epidemics today.
— Kirkus Reviews
David K. Randall is a spellbinding writer. He has turned a critical chapter of medical history into a riveting tale that reads like a detective novel, chock-full of scandals and intrigue.… Read Black Death at the Golden Gate because it’s a page-turner, but more important, read this book because the issues Randall spotlights resonate today.
— Randi Hutter Epstein, author of Aroused