Pandemic Perspectives – A filmmaker’s journey in 10 essays

In 2022, Howard Burton launched the Pandemic Perspectives Project: a documentary film, podcast series and this engagingly candid collection of essays that chart his personal quest to make some sense of the COVID-19 pandemic through his interaction with a diverse array of 32 experts.

Directly inspired by the award-winning writer, physician and self-professed “biology watcher” Lewis Thomas, Howard takes us on a thought-provoking tour of a wide range of key societal and scientific issues, from biology to politics to contemporary morality. 

Parting from an initial biological perspective, this wonderful book engages in a capacious and multi-disciplinary series of commentaries on how the pandemic has impacted (and continues to impact) our world. Revealing deep fissures in our educational, political, and social fabric, Burton’s book represents a heart-wrenching testimony of what Covid-19 has done to our world and to ourselves. Not unlike Boccaccio or Defoe’s descriptions of the plague, Pandemic Perspectives will inform future generations of these dark years and of our variegated and often ineffective responses to the virus.”—Teofilo Ruiz, Distinguished Research Professor of History, UCLA

Few people have delved as deeply into the COVID pandemic, and from as many different angles, as Howard Burton. In this wise and deeply thought-provoking book, he reflects on how his thinking about society, science, and the human condition changed in the process of making a documentary film that features a couple dozen experts from diverse fields about how our society stumbled through the pandemic into a changed world. This is not a book about disease but rather about human relations and society and how they may never return to what passed as normal a decade ago.”—Roy F. Baumeister, author of The Self Explained, and The Power of Bad.

Howard Burton is just what the moment calls for: an informed generalist with a hunger for knowledge who feasts at the table with specialists. Seeking the widest possible perspectives on the matters of our time, he weaves them together as a writer with a filmmaker’s touch, telling stories that both inform and entertain.” —Darrin McMahon, Mary Brinsmead Wheelock Professor of History, Dartmouth College

Howard Burton’s unique and discerning approach provides stimulating insights into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on medicine, science, policy and what is, or should be, society’s response. This makes for a fascinating and informative read.” —Joanna Haigh, Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Physics, Imperial College London

Listen to a podcast conversation between Howard Burton and Marshall Poe, Founder and Editor of the New Books Network.

Now available in paperback, eBook, and hardcover format. The audiobook version is now available on the Ideas Roadshow app.