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CLSC Announcement: Patient Zero
The Department of Education has announced Patient Zero: A Curious History of the World’s Worst Diseases by Lydia Kang, MD, and Nate Pedersen, as a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection for Week Three of the 2023 Summer Assembly Season: “Can the Center Hold? – A Question for Our Moment.”
Winner of the 2022 Nebraska Book Award in the category of Nonfiction Popular History, Patient Zero is the second nonfiction book by Lydia Kang, MD, and Nate Pedersen.
As the title suggests, Patient Zero tells the curious stories of 21 of the most well-known diseases to our species and their patient zeros. Each chapter focuses on one disease’s origin story, its impact, and plenty of other interesting facts. Through this amalgam of stories, the book traces the fascinating history of disease outbreaks – how they start and spread, the science that lets us understand them, and how we race to contain them.
The stories are gripping and instructive. Amy Stewart, the author of The Drunken Botanist and Wicked Bugs, writes that “some of these stories read like gripping crime novel, some like Victorian tragedies, and some like futuristic thriller. Patient Zero is essential and entertaining reading.”
Lydia Kang is an author of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. She graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine and is a practicing physician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center where she is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine.
Her poetry and non-fiction have been published in JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, and Great Weather for Media. Along with Nate Pedersen, she is the co-author of the 2023 CLSC selection Patient Zero: A Curious History of the World’s Worst Diseases, which received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and a Nebraska Book Award for nonfiction. Their first book, Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything, was an NPR Science Friday Best Science Book of 2017. Her adult historical fiction includes the bestselling novels A Beautiful Poison, The Impossible Girl, Opium and Absinthe, and The Half-Life of Ruby Fielding. Her young adult novels include Control, Catalyst, Toxic, and The November Girl, a 2018 Nebraska Book Award winner. She is also the author of the recently released Star Wars: Cataclysm, set in the era of the High Republic.