Life As We Knew It - Cunningham, Melissa

Life As We Knew It - Cunningham, Melissa

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The gripping inside account of Australia's extraordinary pandemic story.

It was never part of the plan that Australia would be locked down and shut off from the world for two years. But when the Covid-19 pandemic arrived in 2020, and the bodies began piling up overseas, Australians took unprecedented steps to avoid a catastrophe heading their way. The country's near-elimination of the deadly virus in the first phase of the pandemic saw it avoid tens of thousands of deaths. But not all Australians were sheltered from disaster, and the strategy came with heavy costs. Many said goodbye to life as they knew it.

With unmatched access to Australia's top politicians and pandemic officials, Life As We Knew It is a gripping investigation into the nation's Covid-19 response and its incredible untold human stories. It delves into the worst days of the pandemic and its terrible disasters. But it also shows Australians at their best, the weird and the wonderful, and a public spirit of collectivism over individualism that set the country apart.

The authors travel across the nation shedding new light on the disruptive outbreaks that plunged Victoria and New South Wales into lockdowns. Based on more than 150 interviews, it also examines the unique experience of Australia's Covid-zero states- Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia, and the Northern Territory - places where it sometimes felt like the pandemic didn't exist.

Many of the most significant moments in Australia's pandemic happened behind closed doors. Life As We Knew It lifts the curtain.


'Closely reported, written with pace, and acknowledging the personal, this is a must-read about Australia's unique experience of the pandemic.'
-Dr Norman Swan

'For the record! A terrific account of Australia's outstanding political and public health response to Covid-19. We all lived through it, and it's our story.'
-Nobel laureate Professor Peter Doherty

'It will be impossible not to find experiences and reactions that resonate in this remarkable compendium of our pandemic experience, but we are also challenged to learn through the eyes of others.

The authors astutely document political relationships, policy development, and at times deflection of responsibility, unafraid of sharing their views on key decisions and events, whilst remaining firmly focused on the humanity of our response. The pain, loss, and scars of our experience are handled with care and compassion, and so too are the extraordinary stories of generosity and resilience ...

But most of all they remind us that everyone wanted Australia to do well - and we did. This is a story of success. It is our story.'
-Professor Catherine Bennett, epidemiology chair, Deakin University