Bozeman authors Betsy Gaines Quammen and David Quammen will live-stream a discussion on the coronavirus outbreak and the dangers of misinformation and religious conspiracy at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 23, on Elk River Books’ Facebook page.
David, one of the nation’s preeminent science journalists, wrote Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Pandemic. The book, released in 2013, and described by The New York Times as “timely and terrifying,” predicted that the next disease cataclysm – perhaps on the scale of AIDS or the 1918 influenza – was likely to be caused by a new virus coming to humans from wildlife. Experts call such an event “spillover” and warned us then to brace ourselves.
His wife, Betsy Quammen, is the author of the newly released American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God and Public Lands in the West. Since her book tour was been postponed, the Quammens thought it would be fun and timely to talk about both of their books and how they intersect at this moment.
David will cover the topic of disease outbreak, and Betsy will talk about misinformation and religion and how these impact responses to the pandemic – an especially apt topic in light of recent protests against state regulations and federal guidelines restricting human interaction.
“Nevada’s Bundy family, who are Mormon, are currently agitating against disease-related restrictions,” she writes. “What does it mean and what does it cost, in the midst of a pandemic, when sectors of our population believe science is a hoax? Additionally, what can it mean if COVID-19 is used by the federal government to consolidate power and disrupt democracy, like Ammon Bundy, and many others, currently contend?”
Terry Tempest Williams calls American Zion “a magnificent portrait of complexity, interrogating the collision between frontier thinking and the rising consciousness toward the climate crisis on public lands. Brilliant and electrifying.”
To view the event, go the Elk River Books’ Facebook page beginning at 7 pm on April 23: . Those who don’t have a Facebook account may still tune in – just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a direct link to the streaming video.
The Quammens’ books will be available for purchase online from Elk River Books ahead of the event and afterwards at shop.elkriverbooks.com. The couple will also sign copies for readers, with Elk River providing both pickup and delivery options.