The Herd

(Trade paper)
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In the spring of 2020, as a new and deadly virus rapidly spread across the globe, the world shut down. But a small country in Northern Europe remained open.

First, its government instituted no restrictions. Then, it didn't order the wearing of face masks. While the rest of the world looked on with incredulity, condemnation, admiration, and even envy, a small country in Northern Europe stood alone. As COVID-19 spread across the globe rapidly, the world shut down. But Sweden remained open.

The Swedish COVID-19 strategy was alternately lauded and held up as a cautionary tale by international governments and journalists alike - with all eyes on what has been dubbed 'The Swedish Experiment'. But what made Sweden take such a different path? And did it work?

In The Herd, journalist Johan Anderberg narrates this improbable story, guiding the reader through the history and practice of epidemiology, and the ticking-clock decisions that Sweden's pandemic-response decision-makers were faced with on a daily basis. Weaving past and present effortlessly, Anderberg has written a real-life thriller about a nation dealing differently with a global crisis.

'The Herd is a thrilling read about tight-knit groups of microbiologists and epidemiologists, old grudges, new alliances, and fiery emails ... Anderberg is ambitious, knowledgeable, and fearless.'
-Dagens Nyheter

'The Herd is exemplary journalism of the kind that comes close to the truth through skilled craftsmanship. Anderberg portrays the events in the right order. He relies on relevant facts. He puts the last year in a historical context. He examines without preconceived opinions ... Anderberg's book is like a Corona commission in its own right and a beautiful example of the important role journalism plays in the service of the truth.'

'Reading Johan Anderberg's book is not just a way to get perspective and background, detailed descriptions of how the Swedish strategy was formed and what it led to. It is also a way to be released from the debate, both in social and other media. It is extremely cooling. The Herd is no debate book; it is a nuanced report from an incredibly strange time. So strange you need help finding the words to talk about it.'