Apollo's Arrow offers a riveting account of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on American society as it unfolded in 2020, and on how the recovery will unfold in the coming years. Drawing on a combination of fascinating case studies and cutting-edge research from a range of scientific disciplines, bestselling author, physician, and sociologist Nicholas Christakis explores what it means to live in a time of plague – an experience that is paradoxically uncommon to the vast majority of humans who are alive, yet deeply fundamental to our species as a whole.
Unleashing new divisions in our society and new opportunities for cooperation, this 21st century pandemic has upended our society in ways that will test, but not vanquish, our already frayed culture's capacity to endure and thrive. Featuring many novel, provocative arguments and vivid examples ranging across medicine, history, sociology, epidemiology, data science, and genetics, Apollo's Arrow envisions what happens when the great force of a deadly germ meets the enduring reality of our evolved social nature.
Nicholas A. Christakis is a physician and sociologist who explores the ancient origins and modern implications of human nature. He directs the Human Nature Lab at Yale University, where he is the Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science, in the Departments of Sociology, Medicine, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Statistics and Data Science, and Biomedical Engineering. He is the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science, the co-author of Connected, and the author of Blueprint
"Excellent and timely."
– The New Yorker
"Apollo's Arrow shoots straight and true to explain the scientific and social aspects of the coronavirus pandemic. Christakis's background in biology, medicine, epidemiology, and sociology is a powerful formula for understanding this complex subject. I'm tempted to say that the gods created Christakis to write this book at this time. It is wise, vivid, and engaging."
– William D. Nordhaus, author of The Climate Casino, and 2018 Nobel Laureate in Economics
"An excellent overview of the pandemic thus far, this work will be of interest to those seeking a full explanation of how we got where we are in terms of the virus and the direction we might be going."
– Library Journal
"An instant history of an event that is by no means over. Exceptional. Magisterial."
– Niall Ferguson, Times Literary Supplement
"Authoritative [...] A welcome assessment of the reality of the epidemic that has changed our lives."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Gripping. An indelible portrait of a world transformed."
– Hamilton Cain, Star-Tribune
"In this brilliant and timely book, scientist, scholar, physician, and writer Nicholas Christakis shines the light of history on our dark moment, and illuminates it as no one else can. Insightful, informative, and urgently necessary, Apollo's Arrow is this year's must-must-read."
– Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness
"Provocative [...] Astutely shows how pandemics are as much about our societies, values, and leaders as they are about pathogens."
– Samuel V. Scarpino, Science
"Rich in psychological, sociological, and epidemiological insights, only Nicholas Christakis could write a book this comprehensive and profound and even optimistic during our national calamity."
– Amy Cuddy, author of Presence
"Seldom have we been gifted with a study of pandemic disease marked by such scope, wit, and erudition. Still rarer is one that appears while the rest of us scramble to make sense of a rapidly evolving crisis, one shaped by the very social forces that Nicholas Christakis has studied for decades. Apollo's Arrow is more than history's first draft. It will live on as a journal of the plague years, certainly, and it inspires as it instructs. Definitive, engaging, and astonishing. A tour-de-force."
– Paul Farmer, Professor, Harvard Medical School, Founder, Partners in Health