You ever read a book that completely engrosses you and utterly pisses you off at the same time? Pandemic, Inc. Chasing the Capitalists and Thieves Who Got Rich While We Got Sick is the latest book to earn that platitude. It is a well written and researched read on a difficult and disparaging subject matter. Even so, it is a story worth knowing that everyone should read.
In the pages of this text, J. David McSwane, an award winning investigative journalist, relates the various stories, and the interesting people involved, of traders, brokers, and healthcare companies who looked at one of the worst events in human history and saw dollar signs and opportunity despite the human costs. As well, McSwane, thankfully, spends some time looking at a few individuals who did the opposite and genuinely tried to prepare and help for the horrors and circumstances that a global pandemic would, and continues to, bring.
With each progressive chapter, we see a trail of opportunists taking advantage of the fear, ignorance, and pure bungling mess of the federal government that costs human life and suffering and the taxpayers of the United States hundreds of millions of dollars. It is frankly depressing at times to read this tome; however, the presentation of events and people and stories is unbiased and honest in its display and judgement. As well, it is oddly inspiring and gratifying to not only read of people who genuinely rose above politics and bullshit to try to help simply because it was the right thing to do but to also see an American journalist report on events as they happened without holding back for a future book deal or premise. The information given here by McSwane could be found in articles he had written and published; this book is simply the entirety of his investigation put into one convenient location with additional commentary (and the use of more “blunt” language in quotes and interviews) that wasn’t present in the original articles.
So, yes, Pandemic, Inc. is not a “fun” read and will, if you have the minutest fraction of human decency, probably piss you off, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a book worth reading. In fact, it should be read, far and wide, to learn and, hopefully, do better when the next major, historical event comes around. Unfortunately, I imagine we’ll need the information and practice sooner rather than later.