... a big-picture history of medical quarantine ... Until Proven Safe reads like a vivid travel documentary informed by history, politics and science, deftly cutting back and forth among locations and time periods, and carrying us to where we are now. Although the authors started their examination of quarantine years before the coronavirus pandemic, their book serves as an insightful history of the present.
What...makes their book compelling, besides their extensive experience as journalists, is the depth of their research coupled with a firm conviction that quarantine, a mighty yet dangerous weapon, must be used 'more wisely in the future' ... One of the most fascinating chapters in this enlightening book recounts the tireless efforts of the Englishman John Howard, an eccentric social reformer of ample wealth and unfailing courage, whose achievements on behalf of incarcerated criminals and debtors gave way by his late 50s to a newfound concern over conditions within quarantine facilities ... The informality of the authors’ engaging prose, bearing few scholarly trappings save for the source notes, more aptly resembles that of an article in the New Yorker, where, in fact, portions of the book first appeared. Absorbing chapters, for instance, are devoted to modern containment measures and research centers designed with future perils in mind ... If not for the book’s arresting insights, undergirded by archival research and interviews with historians, epidemiologists and public health experts, Until Proven Safe might resemble at times a travelogue of misery ... Still and all, this is an exceptionally powerful book.
... uncanny in its prescience. It also serves as a good reminder for all of us to refrain from feelings of complacency because as this fascinating book shows again and again, it’s foolish to think this will be our last pandemic ... Twilley and Manaugh see things that others don’t. Their insatiable curiosity reveals itself through all of their endeavors.
There is no shortage of excellent books about the current pandemic and how we got here, but if you seek an entertaining yet sober account of how the world has dealt with lockdowns in the past and how we can better protect ourselves in the future, you should read Until Proven Safe ... a superb story—part travelogue, part science, part history, and wholly fascinating.
... there is something counterintuitively comforting in a deeply-considered book that contextualizes and justifies the seclusion and uncertainty of the past 18 months ... Manaugh and Twilley visit an impressively broad array of quarantine projects.
Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley do an impressively judicious job of explaining exactly why fears of quarantine are understandable and historically justified ... an impressively wide range of interests to bear on a subject that involves not only infectious disease but also — in their ambitious yet seamless narration — politics, agriculture, surveillance and even outer space.
... a beautifully written travelogue of places where people had been quarantined in earlier times, as well as a meditation on the ways and means, the rights and wrongs, of isolating people to prevent the spread of deadly contagions ... Until Proven Safe is most interesting for its history, recalling the forgotten connection between passports and public health and the steps taken by NASA to prevent lunar microbes (if they exist) to return home with the Apollo astronauts.
...as Until Proven Safe methodically illustrates, quarantine has been around for centuries ... Manaugh and Twilley are not out to frighten us. They are too enthusiastic about their research. Throughout the book, they cross continents and disciplines, applying the benefits, and the detriments, of isolation to an array of circumstances.
Quarantine ... It's complicated nature is adeptly explored, including ethical concerns, legal and moral questions, and enforcement challenges ... Descriptions of the many ways mail has been disinfected (grilling, smoking, application of vinegar, processing through weird gadgets) in prior epidemics and lessons on infection-control behavior gleaned from social insects make for fascinating reading.
A captivating survey of the uses and abuses of quarantines ... Journalists Manaugh and Twilley meld a global view of a timely subject with vividly detailed accounts of quarantines ... Persistent challenges include the tedium of isolation, the architectural rigors of designing suitable facilities, and the xenophobic use of quarantine ... For such risks, the authors propose fresh, sensible remedies ... But a larger charm of this smart book lies in their ability to bring potentially dry topics to life ... An infectiously appealing overview of efforts to contain the potentially infectious.
... a riveting and timely look at how humanity has protected itself by isolating segments of its populations ... Manaugh and Twilley cull their research into a concise and logical series of recommendations for future public health crises, grounded in a deep appreciation of the human impact of quarantining ... This thoughtful study couldn’t arrive at a better moment.