"The most revealing pandemic book yet."—The Atlantic
The definitive, inside account of the Trump Administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic from White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator and Coronavirus Task Force member, Dr. Deborah Birx.
In late February 2020, Dr. Deborah Birx—a lifelong federal health official who had worked at the CDC, the State Department, and the US Army across multiple presidential administrations—was asked to join the Trump White House Coronavirus Task Force and assist the already faltering federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic. For weeks, she’d been raising the alarm behind the scenes about what she saw happening in public—from the apparent lack of urgency at the White House to the routine downplaying of the risks to Americans. Once in the White House, she was tasked with helping fix the broken federal approach and making President Trump see the danger this virus posed to all of us.
Silent Invasion is the story of what she witnessed and lived for the next year—an eye-opening, inside account, detailed here for the first time, of the Trump Administration’s response to the greatest public health crisis in modern times. Regarded with suspicion in the West Wing from day one, Dr. Birx goes beyond the media speculation and political maneuvering to show what she was really up against in the Trump White House. Digging into the hard-fought victories, the costly mistakes, and the human drama surrounding the administration’s efforts, she examines the forces that crippled efforts to control the virus and explores why these blunders continue to haunt us today.
And yet amid the agonizing missteps were bright spots that point the way forward—the fastest vaccine creation in history, governors that put their citizens’ health first, and Tribal Nations that demonstrated the powerful role of community in curbing spread, despite their criminally underfunded healthcare systems. Collectively these successes reveal the valiant work of many who were committed to saving lives, as well as highlighting the dire need to reform our public health institutions, so they are nimble and resilient enough to confront the next pandemic.
With the pandemic now moving into its third year confounding two presidential administrations, Dr. Birx presents a story at once urgent and frustratingly unfinished, as Covid-19 continues to put thousands of American lives at risk. The end result is the most comprehensive and extensive accounting to date of the Trump Administration’s struggle to control the biggest health crisis in generations—a revelatory look at how we can learn from our mistakes and prevent this from happening again.
Dr. Deborah Birx served in public health in the U.S. government for more than forty years, working for multiple presidential administrations in that time. A former colonel in the U.S. Army, Dr. Birx spent much of her career researching HIV and working around the globe combatting the pandemics of HIV, TB, and malaria. She has held leadership positions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Institute of Research, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the State Department as Ambassador-atLarge and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). She is currently a senior fellow at the Bush Institute. She lives in Washington, DC.
Earnest and exhaustive. — New York Times Book Review
The best account we have so far of how Trump’s team botched the pandemic response so badly. . . . Significant . . . the book that should be an indispensable resource for future historians. . . . Deborah Birx offers more detail and nuance than anyone else. — The Atlantic
There’s an underappreciated quiet heroism in the steadfast bureaucrat who day after day, for months on end, insists on seeking and spreading the truth. With Silent Invasion, Birx shows us she is a person of extraordinary tenacity who, armed with sound data and a deep sense of duty, fought corrupt forces to save lives as best she knew how. — Washington Post
In-depth...In Silent Invasion, Birx reveals just how untenable her position was and, more importantly, what changes need to happen in order to win against the COVID-19 pandemic." — People